Chiefs open minicamp without Bowe, other stars

Associated Press Modified: June 13, 2012 at 10:11 am •  Published: June 12, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Brian Daboll stood in the middle of a practice field Tuesday, the Chiefs' new offensive coordinator barking instructions to quarterback Matt Cassel, who proceeded to drop back and throw a perfect pass to Jonathan Baldwin.

For the time being, his No. 1 wide receiver.

The Chiefs opened their mandatory three-day minicamp without wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who has not yet signed his franchise tender. That means Bowe is not under contract, and technically is exempt from the last series of workouts before training camp in late July.

"You like to have your good players with you, definitely, because every year you have to develop new team chemistry," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. "I think he'll be here eventually, and we'll have to get him caught up."

There was no defining "eventually" — could be later this week, could be the start of camp in St. Joseph, Mo., and it could be just before the start of the regular season.

The only thing that's certain is that Bowe will be playing catch-up when he arrives.

Kansas City has otherwise had perfect attendance at just about every workout, voluntary and mandatory alike, allowing them to quickly pick up Daboll's offensive system.

While there are some similar elements to what the Chiefs ran under Todd Haley, their previous head coach, and former offensive coordinator Bill Muir, there is enough difference in terminology and mechanics that wide receiver Dexter McCluster said at one point his "head was spinning."

"It's always hard learning a new playbook," he said, "but Bowe, he's a guy that learns fast. I talk to him every now and then. I know he's working hard. He's not taking any days off."

Bowe is coming off a season in which he caught 81 passes for 1,159 and five TDs from a patchwork group of quarterbacks. He's caught 356 passes for 4,927 yards and 36 touchdowns in his five-year career, even making his first Pro Bowl two years ago.

His franchise tender is valued at $9.5 million.

Bowe's absence has given more repetitions with the first team to Baldwin, who has made some significant strides during his first full offseason.

The former first-round pick missed out on the entire process last season because of the NFL lockout, and Baldwin didn't truly hit his stride until late in the year. But he's managed to carry over much of that momentum into what has been a strong series of workouts.