ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was on the practice field this week and was a limited participant in the workouts. But his presence was enough to energize his teammates. Charles made his first training camp appearance on Tuesday, after passing the Chiefs physical and being moved off the physically unable to perform list. The running back was held back as he recovered from surgery on his torn ACL that he suffered last October.
His move back to practice while limited was the first step in what the Chiefs hope is a full return to activity for Charles.
"Coach (Eric) Bieniemy (running backs assistant) and (head) coach (Andy) Reid will evaluate what he did and get back to us," said head trainer Rick Burkholder. "We'll tweak his rehab so that he gets closer to playing. It's an absolute day-to-day process. We'll evaluate every day that he's out here. We'll change what we're doing up in the fieldhouse as well as on the field. And then we'll give him more and more as we go."
Charles suffered the second torn ACL of his career on October 11, 2015 against Chicago at Arrowhead Stadium. The soon-to-be 30 year old has produced as a runner and receiver for the Kansas City offense since his rookie season in 2008.
His teammates were glad to see him on the field.
"We love (No.) 25 and we're glad to have him back," said cornerback Steven Nelson.
--The Chiefs closed out the training camp portion of their preseason on Thursday, as they held their final practice at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo.
"They started off sharp and finished sharp," said head coach Andy Reid of his team's camp performance. "It should be sharp having been together four years. You expect it to continue the longer you're around. They've done it and kind of know the offense, defense and special teams. Do we have room to improve and things that we need to get straight before we play? Absolutely."
Reid indicated that in Saturday night's preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams, his starters would play the first half, with the No. 2 squad working the third quarter and the third team getting the fourth quarter.
As for his quarterbacks, Alex Smith will play the first half, although Reid allowed that he "makes those decisions on the fly." Backup Nick Foles may get a few first-half snaps, but he'll definitely open the second half against his old team. Aaron Murray and Kevin Hogan will work what is left in the fourth quarter.
--Back in May when the Chiefs held their rookie minicamp it turned out they had an Olympic champion in their midst. John Henderson was among more than three dozen athletes invited to take part in the three-day camp. Henderson did not play football at Hinds Community College in Mississippi, Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens or Division III Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Henderson's athletic ability was enough to have the Chiefs' personnel department bring him in for a look.
"We're proud of him for bringing home the gold," said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. "He worked his tail off here ... we looked at it as more of a trial basis. He was trying to do two jobs."
The 27 year old who grew up in McAlmont, Ark., worked at wide receiver while with the Chiefs, showing the speed that's been timed in 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a personal best 10.18 seconds in 100 meters and 20.65 in the 200 meters. Reid gave no indication the team saw enough in those three short days to offer a contract. Henderson last played football 15 years ago when he was 12 years old.
The gold medal came to Henderson when on his final jump, he reached 27-feet, 6 inches. Another U.S. jumper Jarrion Lawson, topped that effort, but his jump was ruled short because his hand touched down in the pit before his feet. Lawson ended up in fourth place.
--Cornerback Phillip Gaines (knee) is unlikely to play in the preseason game against the Rams in Los Angeles on Saturday. Gaines continues to work in practice, but the Chiefs do not want to push his pace. The third-year cornerback is coming off a torn ACL and surgery last season. ... Running back Charcandrick West (elbow) will not play Saturday. West suffered a sprained elbow in last Saturday's game against Seattle and has not practiced since then. ... Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (groin) is scheduled to play on Saturday. Maclin missed some practice time during the week because of the groin pull. But on Thursday, Reid indicated that Maclin will play against the Rams.