The Chiefs had completed more than an hour of their morning practice Tuesday, music blaring from the speakers on one end of the field, when a familiar face emerged from the neighboring facility. Wearing a red uniform with the number 5 across his chest, within seconds he took his place at the back of the end zone and awaited the flight of a kickoff.
Upon weaving through his blockers for the next 50-plus yards, Chiefs players began to cheer. Glad to see an old friend.
De’Anthony Thomas is back.
The Chiefs signed their former wide receiver Tuesday, and after a physical, he promptly joined the team.
“He just jumped right in,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He’s ready to go.”
Recognizable returns became a theme Tuesday. The Chiefs also welcomed back offensive lineman Jeff Allen. In corresponding moves for the two additions, the Chiefs waved lineman Abdul Beecham and receiver Davon Grayson.
Thomas has spent his entire NFL career in Kansas City since the Chiefs drafted him in 2014. This is technically Allen’s third stint with the Chiefs, who drafted him in 2012.
“There’s a senior leadership — been through it before,” Reid said. “They know the offense. Jeff was here in my first year. DAT came just a little bit after that. It’s good to have them back out here. They’re out here competing and working to make the football team.”
The Thomas inclusion comes after the Chiefs announced receiver Marcus Kemp tore the ACL in his knee and will miss all of 2019. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill was not at practice Tuesday, though Reid said it was for personal reasons. The team expects him back Wednesday. The Chiefs also signed wide receiver Jalen Tolliver, a second-year pro, on Tuesday.
Thomas, 26, returns after suffering a fractured leg during a practice last October, ending his season.
He has spent the offseason rebuilding the strength in his leg with track workouts.
“We stayed in touch with him; made sure he was good and healthy,” Reid said. “The leg was a concern, but they did the check-up on him. He’s doing great with it.”
As aforementioned, he wasted little time in jumping back into drills. After his kick return, he also caught a couple of passes while working with the top offensive unit.
Jeff Allen arrived before practice, exchanging handshakes with teammates as it began.
“Feels like I never left,” he said.
He did once.
Allen, 29, departed Kansas City for a four-year contract with the Houston Texans in 2016. After an injury cut short that agreement, he returned to the Chiefs last October.
And once more Tuesday.
The two sides have kept in contact throughout the offseason “here and there,” Allen said, and he spent the past two weeks working out with a personal trainer in Dallas should the opportunity materialize.
Well, that and “making cookies,” he added, referring to his wife’s year-old business.
“I was always ready, just waiting,” Allen said. “Obviously being a veteran, you hear from other people and all that. I was just ready for the right opportunity. This is the obvious one.”