Kemp suffered the initial injury during Saturday’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He went up and made an impressive catch, but came down awkwardly and began limping. Kemp was forced to leave the game and was quickly ruled out for the remainder. Andy Reid referred to Kemp’s injury as “the most significant” following the game. He was sent for an MRI on Sunday and it revealed what the Chiefs feared.
This injury will keep Kemp out for the entire 2019 season. He will go through a long rehab process to recover two ligaments. Kemp finished two preseason games with two catches for 36 yards.
What This Means for the Chiefs
Kemp was not going to be one of the Chiefs’ main offensive weapons. He has been listed far down on the depth chart two weeks in a row. With Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman, it was unlikely that Kemp would have any offensive impact. This does not mean that he is not a big loss.
Kemp was having a strong camp. His presence will be missed on special teams. Kemp finished third on the team in 2018 in special teams snaps. He turned into one of the leader’s of that unit and this injury greatly impacts the special teams in Kansas City.
This injury also means that the Chiefs will have to add another receiver to the team who might not have made it. Right now, Cody Thompson seems like the choice. He leads the Chiefs with nine catches for 88 yards in the preseason. Aside from the Chiefs’ top three receivers, it is looking like Demarcus Robinson and Gehrig Dieter will make the team.
Kemp’s Long Road
Kemp was an undrafted player out of Hawaii. He broke out during his senior season in 2016 with 73 catches for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns. He joined the Chiefs and made an appearance in just one game in 2017. This jumped up to playing in all 16 games last season.
Despite having just one catch for seven yards, Kemp was an important part of the Chiefs because of his contributions on special teams. He was drawing praise from the coaching staff while trying to work his way up on the depth chart. In 2019, Kemp would have been in the same role of leading the special teams unit.
Kemp is set to become an exclusive rights free agent during the 2020 offseason. Kansas City will have the option of keeping him next season if they choose. This will not be a thought during the season as the Chiefs prepare for what they hope will be a Super Bowl run, but keeping Kemp for next season is not out of the question.
The Chiefs will keep a close eye on Kemp’s rehab process. If he progresses on time with no setbacks, he could be back on the field for the Chiefs in 2019.