Chiefs’ Pacheco: ‘Absolutely’ ready for opener


ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Running back Isiah Pacheco, who missed all of offseason practice after having surgeries for shoulder and hand injuries, said he would “absolutely” be at full strength on Sept. 7 when the Kansas City Chiefs begin defense of their Super Bowl championship against the Detroit Lions.

“I trust the staff and we were able to work out a plan,” said Pacheco, who led the Chiefs in rushing last season as a rookie, gaining 830 yards and scoring five touchdowns. “I’m getting back into shape and we’re working.”

Pacheco has been a limited participant in practice this week as the Chiefs are holding a minicamp mostly for quarterbacks and rookies. Pacheco has worn a bright yellow jersey usually reserved for quarterbacks that indicates to other players not to contact him, even though the practice sessions are conducted without pads.

The Chiefs have not said when Pacheco would be cleared for full practice participation.

“Whenever the coaches allow me to play and whenever [coach Andy Reid] says you’re good to go, that’s when I’m going to go out there and I’m going to show,” Pacheco said.

“I’m feeling great right now. It’s just a process and that takes time …”

Pacheco said he played much of last season with an injured shoulder and that he broke his hand in the AFC Championship Game victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. He played with both injuries in the Super Bowl LVII win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He said he told himself before the game “that it wasn’t bothering me” and wound up rushing for 76 yards and a touchdown.

“We had two weeks to recover,” he said. “I was good with the recovery, what we did with the staff and I was able to play. They got me right.”

The Chiefs haven’t appeared concerned about Pacheco’s availability for the season or his effectiveness when he does return. They did not add a back through free agency or the draft, though they return their other two top players at the position from last season, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Pacheco said he planned to rush for at least 1,000 yards this season. The Chiefs haven’t had a back go over that mark since Kareem Hunt in 2017.

“That’s the goal, obviously,” he said. “It starts here today, [in] practice day by day.”


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