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Insider Blog: No Time to Celebrate

Posted Apr 26, 2010

The Chiefs are wasting no time in putting their rookies to work...rookie camp opens on Friday

Chiefs fans are hoping that fifth-round pick Cameron Sheffield can make more plays like the one pictured to the right on current Broncos QB Tim Tebow once he puts on a Kansas City uniform. But before any of that happens, both he and Tebow will have to complete rookie mini-camps for their respective clubs.

For the Chiefs, there’s no wasting time.

A few more rookie free agents could be on their way to Kansas City, but for the moment the Chiefs 2010 rookie class consists of 18 players; seven draft picks and 11 undrafted signees. It’s been a heck of a ride for each of these players over the past few days, but that’s now all behind them. The watch-parties are over, the anxiety of pick projecting has passed and the handshakes have cooled off; now it’s time to get to work.

Kansas City will hold a rookie mini-camp this weekend, beginning on Friday, April 30th. Each of the 18 rookies is expected to be in attendance, along with a handful of other players. In past years, the Chiefs rookie weekend has consisted of draft picks, undrafted signees, selected first-year players currently on the roster and players in town on a tryout basis.

Though typically high in numbers and low in staying power, every once in a while a tryout player will turn a few heads over the weekend and wind up leaving with a contract. Former Chiefs RB Dantrell Savage is a recent example of a player who not only beat the odds by landing a contract after attending rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis, but he furthered his Cinderella story by being part of Kansas City’s roster for portions of each of the last two seasons.

Savage was released by the Chiefs on March 3rd after seeing duty in 13 professional games. His Kansas City totals included 25 carries for 98 yards and nine receptions for 51 yards. He currently remains a free agent.

This weekend’s camp represents the first on-field activities for the 2010 edition of the Chiefs. The participation list for the weekend camp is still a work in progress, but we’ll let you know exactly who takes part in the practice sessions once the air horn blows for the first time this weekend.

Last May, Kansas City invited 34 players to participate in the inaugural rookie camp of the Scott Pioli/Todd Haley era. Of those 34, eight were draft picks, 12 were rookie free agents and eight were first-year players already on the roster. The remaining six spots were taken by players who attended the workout on a tryout basis.

None of the tryout players from a year ago ended up with a ticket to training camp in River Falls (a list which included former Iowa QB Drew Tate and former Mizzou back-up QB Chase Patton), but the underdogs can’t ever be underestimated.

In 2008, WR Sergio Joachim, G Edwin Harrison, LB Weston Dacus and LB LeRue Rumph all joined Savage with contracts following the camp. Dacus joined Savage as one who defied the odds even further and saw playing time in multiple games as a pro.

Dacus spent all of 2009 on injured reserve and was ultimately released on February 8th. He remains a free agent.

Other notable tryout players from that 2008 class included former Florida great QB Chris Leak (non-rookie invitee), Kansas DT James McClendon and Mizzou S Pig Brown. This weekend will offer another opportunity for tryout players to write their names in the Chiefs history books, and hopefully on contracts.

During the three-day camp, player can expect to charge through somewhat of a miniature combine. Their physical measurements will be taken and each will likely undergo testing in the vertical jump, bench press, 40-yard dash, etc. What’s the most interesting, however, is how each player responds to the on-field coaching as Chiefs coaches will continue to push the players even though the rookies’ heads are spinning on information overload.

Most of the players participating in this weekend’s camp are expected to arrive in Kansas City sometime on Thursday. Camp will officially begin on Friday and practice sessions are slated to conclude on Sunday afternoon. Traditionally, Saturday’s schedule mocks a training camp two-a-day schedule with one practice in the morning and another in the evening.

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