Kansas City Chiefs

McCluster impresses at Chiefs camp

He starts. He stops. He weaves, twists, dashes and darts.

Dexter McCluster is hard on tacklers and murder on footwear. Twice since Kansas City drafted the diminutive rookie wide receiver, those churning little feet have actually caused his shoes to start coming apart.

He says it happened once at Mississippi, where the 5-foot-7, 170-pounder rushed for 1,955 yards and added another 1,703 in receiving as he became a first team all-SEC player. It's happening more often now, including once this week as the second-round draft pick made one of those quick cuts that have already made him a fan favorite.

"The bottom came out this time," he said. "It was kind of flapping on me a little bit. But they got me a new pair and I was ready to go."

Broken shoes? That's a new one.

"He's running out of his shoes," said veteran wide receiver Chris Chambers. "I'd never seen it. That's a new thing."

Coaches are working overtime trying to figure out where to use their electrifying rookie and how many touches his slight frame can handle. So far, they've been looking at him as a kick returner, wide receiver and quarterback in the wildcat formation — he threw 27-yard touchdown pass in college.

Another possibility is running back. But they're also concerned about giving him too big a work load.

"I don't feel I'm going to wear down. I want to be ready whenever he calls my number," McCluster said.

He made one eye-popping play on Wednesday, catching the ball on one sideline, then dodging and weaving past would-be tacklers all the way to the corner of the other end zone. The play covered perhaps 40 yards but McCluster — with the crowd yelling "Dexter, Dexter, Dexter!" —probably ran 90.

Everyone except him seemed to be huffing and puffing. He looked like he was having the time of his life.

"My game is quickness. My game is speed," he said. "Wherever the coach wants to utilize that, that's how it's going to be."

Berry gets a pick — It was only an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, but rookie safety Eric Berry did what the Chiefs drafted him for and that's make a big play. Berry intercepted a pass down the middle after quarterback Brodie Croyle was forced to get rid of the ball because of Derrick Johnson's pressure.

Berry also broke up a Matt Cassel pass intended for Tony Moeaki.

"I got something I can build off of," said Berry, the Chiefs' first-round draft pick. "Our defense did pretty good today."

Saturday's scrimmage drew 10,721 fans, a record for Spratt Stadium at Missouri Western State University.

Coaching staff alignment — Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis operated from the press box while his defensive counterpart, Romeo Crennel, was on the sideline. Haley said that's also the plan for the regular season, but it could change.

"That's part of what you get done as a staff through preseason, especially with some new guys involved," Haley said. "We're just trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of all of our coaches."

Haley was on the sideline when he was offensive coordinator for Arizona before he joined the Chiefs. But he said the press box is a better place from which to call plays.

"The way I was taught and believe was that the best place to call a game, at least offensively, was the press box, which was a much more sterile, unemotional environment," he said. "A much better view, night and day."

A day off — The Chiefs get their first off day of training camp today. They'll return to St. Joseph for practice on Monday and begin preparations then for Friday's preseason opener against the Falcons in Atlanta.

"I want them to first and foremost take care of their bodies," Haley said. "That would be my No. 1 thing on the agenda. This is a time to rest. That's what the purpose of a little time off is. They've put a lot of wear and tear on their bodies over the last week and a couple of days. This is an opportunity to rest, take care of their bodies, hydrate, stay off their feet and put them in the best possible position to come back Monday and get back at it and hopefully improve."

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