ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Tony Moeaki is no stranger to injuries based on his gridlock-like string of consecutive games played at Iowa.
But last year he suffered his worst injury, a torn ACL in the Kansas City Chiefs' preseason finale. It ended his second season before it began, and shelved all hope of Moeaki building on a sizzling rookie season in 2009.
Moeaki, a 6-foot-3, 252-pound tight end, now is healthy once again. He has been cleared to compete in the Chiefs' preseason opener Friday against Arizona.
"He’s making good progress coming back, and we’re giving him reps and he’s making plays in practice," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said Wednesday. "I think we will continue to monitor his reps until we feel like that he’s good to go all the time. He’s made good progress. I think he’ll be OK versus Atlanta."
It was a tough rehab for Moeaki, who was unable to participate in offseason team activities. He worked out on the side in drills and conditioning but he since has returned to full practice in training camp.
"Obviously there’s obstacles you have to overcome, but I’m out here practicing, and it’s just a testament to our trainers and just hard work," Moeaki said.
"An injury is tough, whatever it is. I’m past that now, and I’m just focused on football."
Moeaki said the toughest challenge to overcome after the injury was "just getting past the rough stuff. You see it all over the place, being in the huddle, the game speed is different. You’re not used to it."
As a rookie in 2009, Moeaki caught 47 passes for 556 yards and three scores. He had the fifth-most catches among rookies that year and his dazzling one-handed catch for an 18-yard touchdown against San Francisco earned him NFL Rookie of the Week honors.
In training camp Moeaki primarily works with the Chiefs' first offense as the second tight
end. In a scrimmage against the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, Moeaki showed his power as a blocker, taking on a defensive end and a running back cut right behind him. In a 7-on-7 drill, Moeaki streaked under the Cardinals' safeties and hauled in a sliding catch for a touchdown."I made a few plays the last couple of days, but I just want to keep getting consistent," Moeaki said. "Obviously I have lots of things to clean up and the goal is to eliminate all the mistakes."