Danny Parkins: It's Starting to Come Together
From this Thursday's practice in St. Joe...
Kelly Gregg was the first of the newcomers to walk onto the Chiefs practice field. Then Brandon Siler sauntered down. Leron McClain followed. Then Steve Breaston jogged out in his shoulder pads next to Dwayne Bowe. Brandon Carr isn’t new, but he has been absent, and was here too. Practice started and there was only one piece missing. But it was a rather large piece.
Tamba Hali and his 14.5 returning sacks were nowhere to be found. Reports circulated that he had agreed to terms on a 5 year, $60 million contract and that he’d be joining his teammates for their first official practice of the new league year. But he wasn’t here.
Then about an hour after their slightly delayed practice began, when all eyes were on the field, out of nowhere, came number 91. And the previously subdued crowd instantly came to life with an ovation. Hali jogged onto the field, shook hands with one of his coaches, did some stretches and jumping jacks, and proceeded to join his defensive linemen in position drills.
The 2011 Chiefs were whole again and they looked good. There was a slight buzz in the crowd for the rest of practice that included a lot of smiles. But the biggest one of all was on the face of the man who came onto the field only 2 minutes after Tamba: Scott Pioli.
The practices at St. Joe until this point have mostly been rudimentary and have had a heavy emphasis on conditioning. In that respect, Thursday's actually wasn’t much different. But it felt different. Everyone was accounted for and I can confidently say:
Chiefs fans, the season officially started this afternoon.