Bill Belichick missed two days of practice to attend his father's funeral, but New England's coach said his absence didn't seem to affect the Patriots.

Belichick, who returned to the practice field yesterday, watched videotapes of Tuesday's and Wednesday's sessions and said it appeared to be a "normal week of practice."

"Anytime you start to work on a new team and put stuff in and run it against different looks," he said, "some things look okay and other things need to be polished up a little bit."

His father, Steve, died of heart failure in Annapolis last Saturday at age 86. Belichick waited until after Sunday's 24-17 home victory over the New Orleans Saints to inform the team of his father's death.

Assistant head coach Dante Scarnecchia filled in for Belichick and ran the team's meetings and practices.

Belichick said coming up with a game plan is a "day-to-day process," which leaves him plenty of time to tweak it before tomorrow's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I've been out of that process for a couple of days," he said. "But again, a lot of the things that we do and change are done within the staff."

New England is visiting Arrowhead Stadium for the second year in a row. Last season, the Patriots beat the Chiefs, 27-19, on a Monday night.

* EAGLES: Philadelphia tackle Tra Thomas needs surgery to repair a lumbar disk in his lower back and will miss the rest of the season.

The three-time Pro Bowl tackle felt numbness and tingling in his legs last week against the New York Giants and was sent to two specialists who recommended surgery, Coach Andy Reid told the team's Web site.

Thomas is the third starter the Eagles have placed on season-ending injured reserve in the past week, following quarterback Donovan McNabb and cornerback Lito Sheppard.

McNabb, a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback who passed for 2,507 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, will have surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle. Sheppard, who had three interceptions, will need surgery to repair an injured ankle.

* CHIEFS: Kansas City defensive lineman Lional Dalton was jailed after an alleged fight with his estranged wife.

Dalton, 30, was released on $2,500 bond after being arrested for grabbing his estranged wife by the hair and pulling her down. Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison said the woman was visiting from Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday when the incident was reported.

Dalton, who signed a two-year contract as a free agent with the Chiefs last year, was arrested at his Stilwell, Mo. home about 1:40 a.m., according to Johnson County jail records. His first court appearance was scheduled for Monday.