Red Zone

Chiefs hope rookie receiver’s smarts help him make up for lost time

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley has been seen rehabbing on the sidelines at training camp, but the team thinks he has the smarts to help him make up for lost time.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley has been seen rehabbing on the sidelines at training camp, but the team thinks he has the smarts to help him make up for lost time. deulitt@kcstar.com

Receiver Chris Conley has missed the Chiefs’ last eight practices with a knee strain, which is hardly ideal if the third-round rookie wants to see the field early this season.

But when asked Friday how much the missed practices will hurt Conley, offensive coordinator Doug Pederson was optimistic that Conley’s smarts will help him make a quicker adjustment than others.

“I’ll tell you this: Working with Chris Conley, he’s a very smart individual, a very smart football player,” Pederson said. “He really knows our system well already. He’s getting mental reps. I’ve challenged him here and there, just talking to him on the sideline.

“Obviously, you can’t take away the actual live rep of a play. That just goes without saying. But, hey, we’re not going to rush him. Our medical team is going to make sure he’s 100 percent before we put him back out on the field.”

Conley, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, ran a 4.35 second 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine. He was one of the stars of organized team activities and was expected to challenge second-year pro Albert Wilson for playing time on the outside.

In Conley’s absence, however — and it is unclear when he will return to practice, though he has spent the last few practices rehabbing on the sideline — Wilson has performed well, showing improved savvy as a route runner and receiver.

“There’s another young receiver with not a lot of playing time under his belt, but has come in here and done a nice job,” Pederson said.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @TerezPaylor. Tap here to download the new Red Zone Extra app for iOS and Android devices.

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