Ford signing is big moment for Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It happened only by minutes, but the Kansas City Chiefs were whole by the time they held their first organized practice of the offseason on Saturday. Just before the Chiefs began a three-day rookie camp, they signed their first-round draft pick, outside linebacker Dee Ford of Auburn, to a four-year contract.

Two months before starting training camp, the Chiefs have all of their draft picks under contract. Unlike in recent seasons, there's no threat of any of their draft picks missing a part of training camp. There are no looming showdowns with unhappy franchise players.

It may or may not be accurate to call the Chiefs a big, happy family. But there won't be any public discord this summer, either.

"I love that part of it,'' coach Andy Reid said. "From a coaching standpoint, that's a good thing.''

Storm clouds could form later. The Chiefs would like to sign quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Justin Houston to long-term contract extensions, but those issues aren't imminent. Neither player would be an unrestricted free agent until March.

Draft picks around the league are signing at a rapid pace due to recent changes in the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, but it's still a comfort for the Chiefs to have their business done. It's also a relief for Ford, who would have participated in the rookie camp and upcoming offseason practices without having signed a contract.

But having it done was a load off his mind.

"A lot of relief,'' Ford said. "I hate [the] business. I just want to play football. Now I'm officially a Chief.''

Almost as if to celebrate, Ford made a play on the first snap of full-team practice. Quarterback Aaron Murray threw a pass that was deflected and Ford, who was drafted by the Chiefs because of his pass-rush ability, caught the interception.

"The biggest question [about Ford] is, 'Can I drop in coverage?'" Ford said. "I think I answered that question.''