ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid usually doesn’t mind when his players let their personalities show, so he had no problem with veteran linebacker Tamba Hali saying that he should have played more than seven snaps in last season’s playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Reid wasn’t pleased, however, that Hali took to Twitter to communicate those thoughts publicly.
“We don’t want him doing it through the social media part of it,” Reid said from Missouri Western State University, where the Chiefs begin a three-day camp for rookies and quarterbacks on Tuesday. “If you have a problem, let’s talk about it.
“One thing you love about Tamba is he loves to play. I can’t tell you he’s getting any younger. I can’t tell you that. But I do love the fact he bugs on you that he wants to play. As coaches, we have to make the decision and so we make the decision whether he plays seven plays or 27 plays or 47 plays. That’s what we do.
“Is a player always going to be happy about that? No. That’s not how it works. But do I love the fact he loves to play? Yeah. He’s going to be 50 years old and probably still tweeting out those things that he wants to get in his plays.”
Hali, the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick in 2006, has been one of their top defensive players ever since. But his role was reduced dramatically last season, when he started only two games. Hali still had 3.5 sacks, but that was his lowest total since 2008.
It seems unlikely Hali will return to a full-time role this season. He’ll turn 33 in November and has been limited in practice the past two seasons because of aching knees. He had arthroscopic surgery last year to help the problem.
In the meantime, Justin Houston and Dee Ford have solidified themselves as the regular outside linebackers.
“We’ll see how his wheels hold up,” Reid said when asked how much Hali might play this season. “That’s been the issue.”
Chairman Clark Hunt didn’t seem amused by Hali’s tweets earlier Monday at a news conference to introduce Brett Veach as the Chiefs’ new general manager.
“I believe there are appropriate ways to express yourself,” Hunt said. “I really think that’s an issue that’s best addressed with Tamba directly with the head coach.”