Tight end Demetrius Harris and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas returned to the practice field for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in preparation for the team’s final preseason game against the St. Louis Rams Thursday evening. Injured defensive starters Mike DeVito and Josh Mauga practiced as well, giving the team more depth on that side of the ball.
The team also waived 11 players to prepare the roster for the league-mandated roster cut-down Tuesday afternoon. Rosters must be trimmed to 75 players by 3:00 p.m. CST from the training camp level of 90 players.
Harris had been missing in action since breaking his foot in the pre-game warm-ups last season prior to the Buffalo Bills game in Week 10. He had been on the PUP list (Physically Unable to Perform) during the offseason, but was moved off the list after passing his physical exam Sunday.
Thomas injured his calf during the Arizona Cardinal preseason game two weeks ago, but practiced for the first time since then on Sunday. He was officially listed as a limited participant, meaning he did not partake in every drill. He practiced kick returns and did a few individual drills as well. During Thomas’ absence, Frankie Hammond Jr. has been handling most of the punt returns, but has not been as explosive as Thomas was in his rookie season.
The players waived by the club are: wide receivers Kenny Cook, Jeret Smith, and former Mizzou Tiger L’Damian Washington; cornerbacks Aaron Hester and Kenneth Perry; tackle Anthony Dima, long snapper Andrew East, defensive end Vaughn Martin, guard Marcus Reed, offensive lineman Charles Tuaau, and tight end Adam Schlitz.
The release of Andrew East means that the Chiefs will go into the season with former Oklahoma Sooner, James Winchester, as the long snapper. During his Sunday press conference, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid explained why he and Special Teams coach Dave Toub went with Winchester.
“I think both of them are going to snap in this league,” Reid said. “I think they’re both really good. What it came to was just the velocity of Winchester. He was just a hair faster. They came out so equal, it was crazy. We would have been happy with either one of them. That’s how it worked out.”
The Chiefs will return to practice field Monday and Tuesday at Arrowhead before the Rams game Thursday. Reid did not say how much the starters will play in the final preseason game, but normally the starters don’t get on the field. An exception for Kansas City might be with the offensive line, who could use more repetitions with each other before facing J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and the rest of the Houston Texans excellent defense in the regular season kickoff Sept. 13.