KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some observations from the first Kansas City Chiefs minicamp practice:
Linebacker Justin Houston continued his holdout. Houston, who hadn't participated in any of the offseason practices, was again absent. The Chiefs can fine him for missing minicamp, the only mandatory event of the offseason for players. Cornerback Sean Smith (illness) and wide receiver Weston Dressler (hamstring) also did not participate. Rookie running back De'Anthony Thomas left practice early. He appeared to be overcome by the heat. Tight end Travis Kelce (knee), wide receiver Kyle Williams (knee) and tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder) participated only in individual drills.
In Houston's absence, it appears Dee Ford's time has come. The first-round draft pick received all of the first-team snaps for the first time this spring. Ford appeared to handle all of his assignments well.
Tight end Demetrius Harris continued to make some impressive catches. He took an interception away from Derrick Johnson with a nice grab and later caught an Alex Smith pass that was low and behind him.
Thomas hadn't participated in offseason practices since a rookie camp shortly after the draft. But the Chiefs wasted no time getting him back into the playing rotation. He got some work as a running back, slot receiver and was even split wide on occasion before he left practice.
Sanders Commings is getting some work as an extra defensive back in passing situations and he had a nice interception of a Smith pass.