KANSAS CITY, MO – The Chiefs have signed veteran striker Kyle Long after retiring for a year with the expectation that he will arrive at training camp and immediately compete for a job.
It took a little longer than either of them imagined.
He long fractured the so-called tibial plateau in his knee during June’s workout, leaving him in a position physically unable to perform throughout camp and in the regular season. He is finally set to return to training on November 9, which begins a three-week window for chiefs to decide whether to add him to the active roster.
It happened just before Tuesday’s deadline, and Long was on the training ground Wednesday as the Chiefs (7-4) returned from their farewell to start preparing for Sunday night’s Broncos game at Arrowhead Stadium.
“He’s had two weeks of good training. He’s going to train today,” said Andy Reed, the staff coach. I think the term has been activated in the menu, then we’ll only see as the week goes on, how it goes. We’ll just see. We take it day in and day out with her. But he does a good job.”
The Chiefs carved out a space on the roster by replaying running back Jerick McKinnon and defensive tackles Khalen Saunders on the injured reserve. McKinnon injured his hamstring in their 19-9 win over the Cowboys heading to a goodbye, and Saunders came off a knee injury that surfaced in Week 8 and has kept him out of matches ever since.
Long’s return comes just in time for Kansas City.
Correct Intervention Mike Reimers is still in injured reserve after injuring his knee, although he may be set to return at some point. His teammate, Lucas Niang, just got back to training this week after dealing with some injured ribs.
Andrew Wylie has held his place admirably, but Long on some of his best would be a huge upgrade.
“We’ll just see how Niang does and how he feels going forward,” Reed said of the sophomore, who pulled out of the junior season. “He’s going to get some work done today, but Andrew has experience too. If they’re willing to go, then they go.”
Long, who turns 33 on Sunday, signed a $1.5 million contract for this season that includes incentives of up to $3.5 million, most of which are unlikely to arrive due to injury. But before that, Long said he had done “everything in my power to get myself back to where I knew I could play at the level of football I knew I could play.”
He has long started 76 of the 77 games he played during seven injury-ridden years in Chicago. He started all 16 tackles right in 2015, the last three consecutive years he’s won the Pro Bowl, but he also has extensive experience playing guard.
This means that Long should provide valuable depth in multiple locations even if it does not necessarily start.
“We’re having him with fun, and that’s good. I think it’s important now that he kind of gets back in the ring and gets some chances to move around a little bit in practice football,” Reed said.
Notes: FS Tyrann Mathieu hasn’t been in trouble for long after a minor knee injury left him in question against Dallas. “He’s a tough kid,” Reid said. “He approaches his corrector that way.” … Chiefs are required to wear masks for the first three days of the week, regardless of vaccination status, in accordance with the league’s COVID-19 rules for farewell weeks. “The league is taking precautionary measures,” Reid said. “Our guys have done a pretty good job with it so far.”