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Defense catches up at Chiefs camp

July 26, 2014; St. Joseph, MO; Wide receiver Mark Harrison made a leaping grab in front of defensive back DeMarcus Van Dyke during practice at Chiefs training camp. Credit: Matt Derrick, ChiefsSpin.com

July 26, 2014; St. Joseph, MO; Wide receiver Mark Harrison made a leaping grab in front of defensive back DeMarcus Van Dyke during practice at Chiefs training camp. Credit: Matt Derrick, ChiefsSpin.com

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Blame it on the humidity or the first practice in full pads, but the Chiefs third training camp practice seemed to lack the precision of the first two days.

The defense appeared to win the day, with a few fumbles, a couple of interceptions and a lot of dropped balls hitting the turf in St. Joseph.

After two relatively injury-free days of practice, several Chiefs were nicked up on Saturday. Joe Mays left practice after suffering an apparent knee injury. Reid said after practice that Mays was suffering from a sore knee and had been shuffling in and out of practice repetitions before leaving practice.

The only other player to leave the field and not return was wide receiver Junior Hemingway, who limped off the field after suffering a hamstring injury.

Among other starters, safety Eric Berry suffered a dislocated finger after making a diving interception. Wide receiver Donnie Avery limped off the field after getting tangled up on a play, but later returned to action. Running back Jamaal Charles and center Eric Kush visited the medical tent after limping off the field, but returned to practice.

Defensive backs Sanders Commings (foot) and David Van Dyke (hamstring) and running back Joe Knight (knee) did not take part in practice today but were on the field for stretching. Offensive lineman Rokevious Watkins (back) was not on the field for the third straight day.

Saturday’s practice also served as the team’s annual Family Fun day at training camp. Brief rain showers hit the air just as practice concluded, but it did not deter hundreds from sticking around after practice to get autographs. Lightning in the area cut short the last few minutes of the autograph session.

Position battles

• The most intriguing starting position competition remains at right guard between Rishaw Johnson and Zach Fulton. Rishaw took most of the No. 1 snaps on Thursday, while Fulton took the most on Friday. On Saturday, the two split time fairly evenly. This competition will continue until one of the players can establish themselves as the starter.

• Cornerback Sean Smith continued to run with the second team on defense, with Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker on the first team, and Chris Owens playing nickel back. Reid said after practice he still considers Smith a first-team player.

• An intriguing position to watch as camp unfolds will be wide receiver. Other than Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery, the team has no firmly entrenched receivers. While veterans A.J. Jenkins, Junior Hemingway and Kyle Williams continue to get most of the looks behind Bowe and Avery, several other players are showing flashes.

• Mark Harrison, who was signed last month after being released by the New England Patriots, continues to impress in the first three days of camp. He had one of the best catches of the day, leaping over a defender to make a highlight-reel grab.

• Frankie Hammond Jr. and Albert Wilson have been getting opportunities on special teams and at wide receiver. While both have been inconsistent, each has also made impressive plays in the first few days of camp. Weston Dressler is also in the mix.

McGrath retires

The Chiefs confirmed that tight end Sean McGrath has elected to retire. McGrath, who lead the team’s tight ends in both receptions (26) and receiving yards (302) in 2013, had been absent from the first two days of camp with what the team described as personal matters. McGrath spent the 2012 season with the Seattle Seahawks before joining the Chiefs last season. McGrath provided extra depth at tight end, but was expected to face an uphill battle to make the roster against second-year players Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris.