The 33-year-old pass rusher unloaded on the team during a Saturday firestorm on Twitter, questioning if he was still “needed in KC anymore” and later critiquing teammates on a podcast for skipping organized team activities.
“I’m not going to shy from it — I think it’s important, especially if you’re on our team and you’re one of our leaders — that you should be always there,” Hali said on Saturday’s Arrowheads Abroad Podcast, per The Kansas City. “I don’t want to say names, but I’ve been there for [12 years] and I haven’t missed one offseason with the Chiefs.”
Hali also referenced the Patriots — Kansas City’s Week 1 foe — on Twitter, writing: “Let’s look at the Super Bowl champs. I am sure they had 100 [percent] attendance for OTAS AND OFFSEASON [WORKOUTS] this year. I [may be] wrong.”
Hali refused to name names, but Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star noted that a trio of Chiefs stars — safety Eric Berry, outside linebacker Justin Houston and cornerback Marcus Peters — missed all of OTAs, while outside linebacker Dee Ford missed a portion of the offseason sessions.
On Monday, Chiefs coach Andy Reid took time to respond to Hali’s criticism, saying: “The fact that the guy wants to get out there and go, absolutely but let’s not do it through tweeting or whatever he did.”
Reid called Hali “the big brother of the group” who “does all that stuff,” but acknowledged the workouts are, at their core, “voluntary.”
“It’s something, as a coach, it’s out of your hands. You want everybody here. It’s a voluntary camp,” Reid said. “Tamba sounded like an angry coach there and he doesn’t need to go there and do all that. Again those [guys] understand Tamba better [than] anybody. Every team goes through this — there are guys there and not there and because of the voluntary part of that. That’s what it is and we go with it.”
Said Reid: “All three of those guys [Berry, Houston and Peters] are good players. Two are leaders and will continue to be leaders on the team. You don’t know [the] reasons why they weren’t here. You don’t know all those things. You have to look at the big picture of things and see how it works. Other guys are going to come in here and they’ll be fine.”
It’s worth noting that Hali’s Twitter rant also touched on his unhappiness with barely seeing the field during two games last season against the Steelers, saying: “Can someone explain to me how I played 58 snaps in the first game [against the Chargers] when we made the greatest comeback in Chiefs history? Watching both Steelers [games] from [the] sideline and playing 15 and 7 [snaps] in the last game … I’m still lost.”
Hali can’t change the voluntary nature of offseason practices, but he’s free to speak his mind — even when it ruffles feathers in Kansas City.
The larger question revolves around Hali’s unhappiness — and future — with the team. Either this all gets swept under the rug or takes on a life of its own when the Chiefs open camp on Thursday.