Justin Houston continues to stay away; Reid hopeful that ends by camp

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Linebacker Justin Houston stayed away from all of the Chiefs' offseason practices, including the three-day minicamp that concluded Thursday.

Coach Andy Reid was hopeful, though far from certain, Houston would be with the Chiefs for the start of training camp on Aug. 1.

"They're continuing to talk, and whether he's here or not at [training camp], that just depends on how things go,'' Reid said. "We'll continue to move on and hope that he is here at the beginning of camp.

"I don't get caught up in all that, never have. I let the business side of it take care of itself, and then you move on. If a man misses it, it's another man's reps. That's how we go.''

Houston was not required to attend the otherwise mandatory minicamp because he doesn't have a contract. He has yet to sign the Chiefs' one-year offer worth about $13.2 million that comes with the tender as the team's franchise player.

Houston and the Chiefs continue to work on a long-term deal without apparent progress. The sides have until July 15 to agree on terms of a multiyear contract. If they don't, Houston will play the season on a one-year contract or not at all.

If there's any comfort for the Chiefs, Houston skipped all offseason practices, including minicamp, last year in the failed hope of spurring a long-term contract. He responded with a huge season in which he led the NFL with 22 sacks.

"Do I think he's working out? Absolutely,'' Reid said. "That's just him by nature. He's not going to let things slide on his side.''

Dee Ford, the Chiefs' first-round draft pick last year, was in Houston's spot in offseason practice.

The other starting linebacker, Tamba Hali, stays in regular contact with Houston.

"Justin is doing well,'' Hali said. "He's working out, getting himself in shape, preparing to be here.''

Hali said he last talked with Houston shortly before the start of the minicamp.

"I asked if he was coming,'' Hali said. "He didn't reply, so ...''