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Chiefs' Smith getting first reps of training camp

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 | 8:43 p.m. CDT
Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks Alex Smith, right, and Chase Daniel, a former standout at Missouri, work out at Tuesday's training camp in St. Joseph.

ST. JOSEPH — The first pass that Alex Smith threw on Tuesday was to Tony Moeaki, who might have a hard time making the Kansas City Chiefs after an injury-plagued start to his career.

Then came passes to Tyler Shoemaker, Rico Richardson and Junior Hemingway. It was about as modest of a start as you could get to Smith's first training camp with the Chiefs — a bunch of throws to wide receivers who might not be around in six weeks.

Chiefs notes

The Chiefs are still speaking with the agent of No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher, but Reid said a deal with the right tackle has not been reached. Fisher won't report to camp until he signs a contract.

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Chiefs safety Sanders Commings fractured his left collarbone in his first practice of training camp Tuesday when he landed on it while trying to defend a pass.

The fifth-round draft pick jumped to defend tight end Tony Moeaki and landed hard on one of the practice fields at Missouri Western State University. Commings immediately walked off the field and was taken for X-rays that revealed the break.

Commings wasn't wearing shoulder pads because players are barred from wearing them for the first three practices under terms of the most recent collective bargaining agreement.

The Chiefs hadn't yet scheduled surgery Tuesday night, and a team spokesman said it wasn't known how long Commings will be out. He was expected to provide depth in a secondary that underwent a massive overhaul this past offseason.

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Former NFL running back Larry Johnson pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges that he choked an ex-girlfriend into unconsciousness and left her only in her underwear in a Las Vegas hotel hallway.

The 33-year-old was convicted of domestic violence battery and assault, which are both misdemeanors. A felony charge was dropped as part of a plea deal, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Johnson, who starred for the Kansas City Chiefs but most recently played for the Miami Dolphins in 2011, was arrested several times during his nine-year NFL career.

Tuesday, Johnson was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $345 fine. He must also perform 48 hours of community service and attend six months of counseling.

"I'm just happy to have this behind me and go back to Florida and stay out of trouble for once," Johnson said after the hearing, according to the newspaper.

Johnson also was sentenced in March 2009 to two years of probation with a chance to have his record cleared for good behavior after pleading guilty to reduced disturbing the peace charges in separate cases involving two women at two Kansas City nightclubs.

In 2003, Johnson was charged with aggravated assault and misdemeanor battery after being accused of brandishing a gun during an argument with a former girlfriend. The charges were dropped after he completed a domestic violence diversion program.



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Still, those passes on an unseasonably cool morning on the campus of Missouri Western represented the first step by Smith toward fulfilling expectations that have steadily grown ever since he was acquired from the 49ers this past offseason.

"The entire locker room is hungry. Expectations are high," Smith said, "and I think that's a good thing. The fun thing now is that we'll put the pads on and get to playing real football."

The Chiefs have been trying to weather instability at quarterback for the past seven seasons, trying everybody from Tyler Palko to Damon Huard to Matt Cassel to find someone who fits.

There have been some modest successes — Cassel was quite good a few years ago, when the Chiefs went a surprising 10-6 and won the AFC West. But he regressed so mightily last season that Cassel was ultimately benched for Brady Quinn, who didn't fare a whole lot better.

The shaky quarterback play was a big reason the Chiefs had one of the lowliest offenses in the league, and why the team went 2-14 to match the franchise's worst mark.

So when Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt hired Andy Reid to be the new head coach and John Dorsey as the new general manager, one of their first moves was to upgrade the game's most important position. They wasted such little time in agreeing to a trade for Smith that they had to wait for the new league year to begin for it to be consummated.

Smith had become the hottest trade commodity in the league after flourishing two years ago, when he led the 49ers to the NFC championship game. The former No. 1 overall pick started nine games last season, but was sidelined by a head injury midway through the year.

That opened the door for Colin Kaepernick, who sprinted right through it. Kaepernick played so well that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made him the starter the rest of the season, forcing Smith to watch from the sideline as the team played in the Super Bowl.

Smith has said that he felt like he lost his job in San Francisco without doing anything wrong, and that it's only made him hungrier to succeed with Kansas City.

"It's a fresh start," he said. "It's a fresh beginning for everybody."

Running back Shaun Draughn said Smith already has filled a massive leadership void that had developed within the Chiefs over the past couple seasons.

"He's very confident in what he's doing. I think the guys are really starting to rally around him," Draughn said. "We didn't know how he'd come in and take charge, but he's done a great job. His silent confidence, his leadership — he doesn't say much but he gets the job done."

Smith is working with a hodge-podge of primarily rookies this week. The rest of the squad, including top playmakers Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles, will report on Thursday ahead of the team's first full-squad workout on Friday.

Until then, Smith is squeezing in as many reps as possible with whomever he can find.

"You've had six weeks off," he said. "As far as a quarterback goes, you can throw to air and throw to receivers, but you can't really simulate seven-on-seven, you can't simulate 11-on-11, so it's a few days of work to get back into things.

"When the rest of the guys get here," Smith said, "we're hitting the ground running."


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