KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs have like the other NFL teams reached the most awkward time of their year.
Offseason practice has finished and organized team conditioning sessions are over. Players are on their own, not unlike the period of time between the end of the regular season and the start of organized offseason work.
But now, training camp begins in five weeks. Slacking off between now and the opening of camp could present some problems at the first camp practice, which for the Chiefs' veterans is July 28 at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.
"All of us need to continue to stay in shape," quarterback Alex Smith said last week, shortly before the Chiefs scattered for the summer, or what passes for one in the NFL's world. "Certain guys are going to go their own paths. It's individual time and I do think it's important to take advantage of that. When we report back in the end of July we're here for the long haul.
"Everybody's responsibility is to come back ready to roll both physically and mentally and part of that I think is getting away."
Smith usually finds a productive way to spend his break. He worked out underwater this time last year while he and his family were vacationing in Hawaii.
The Chiefs give all of their players a strength and conditioning routine that is designed to get them to training camp ready to go. But it's one of coach Andy Reid's greatest fears this time of year that at least some players will lose the ground they gained during offseason work.
"It can be if you don't put an emphasis on it," Reid said. "I think we've done a pretty good job of that with the guys. I try to put an emphasis on that every year. We've had luck doing that. You get [lost] if not. Training camp is so fast and you're tired and it's hot, obviously, with a little humidity thrown in there. If you come in behind, it's very hard to catch up."
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, the Chiefs' first-round draft pick, returned home to Texas to train. Before he left, Mahomes said he had a calendar already marked with days for throwing and days for conditioning.
"I'm sure I'll have a quarterbacks coach or somebody come in and help me out a little bit," Mahomes said. "Just trying to stay on top of the footwork and the playbook as much as possible.”
I made a calendar and marked days where I throw, days where I work out and just try and do that.”
The Chiefs will stage a three-day, pre-camp camp for quarterbacks, rookies and other select young players. This serves as a refresher for some of the players who may need it the most.