The Kansas City Chiefs have made several roster changes ahead of their contentious Monday night clash against AFC West rivals the Los Angeles Chargers. On Monday, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah was officially placed on injured reserve and wide receiver Gehrig Dieter was promoted to the 53-man roster in his place.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on November 11 that Ogbah underwent season-ending pectoral surgery for a torn muscle he suffered against the Tennessee Titans the day before. Thankfully, Ogbah is expected to be fully healed at the conclusion of this season, in which he will become a free agent. Before his injury occurred, the Nigerian-born player led the team in sacks.
To complete the roster again, Kansas City promoted wide receiver Gehrig Dieter in Ogbah’s place, leaving an open spot on the practice squad. The 26-year-old was signed to the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and his time at Arrowhead Stadium has been quite a process since then. Dieter spent his first two seasons on the practice squad, but was consequently placed on injured reserve before final cuts of his sophomore season due to back spasms.
Kansas City initially waived him with an injury settlement a week into the offseason. The Indiana native eventually cleared waivers, making him a free agent once again and allowing the Chiefs to sign him back to the practice squad in mid-October.
Two Other Injured Stars Return to the Starting Lineup
Ogbah’s injury is undoubtedly a loss for Andy Reid, but news of two key players returning should have the veteran head coach in better spirits. Left tackle Eric Fisher and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will make their triumphant return to the lineup Monday night in Mexico.
“I thought they did a good job,” Reid said regarding Fisher and Duvernay-Tardif’s efforts in practice on Friday. “They worked in and did well, did everything we asked them to do.”
According to Sports Illustrated, the last time Kansas City played a snap with all five of their starting offensive line was in Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders. Even though the Chiefs walked away with a 28-10 victory, Fisher left the game just four snaps in and hasn’t returned to the field since.
Testy AFC West Battle Awaits Kansas City
Arguably armed with the strongest offense among all four teams, a 3-peat AFC West title appeared to be in Kansas City’s favor. However, injury setbacks, notably for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and key members of the defense have allowed the Raiders to level with the Chiefs and perhaps run away with the distinction when the regular season ends.
The Chiefs are definitely still the franchise to beat in the AFC West and remain in conversations regarding teams likely to make a Super Bowl appearance this year, but it depends on their ability to enter the playoffs injury-free and on a convincing winning streak.
In his address to the media Friday, Reid credited the Chargers for their unwavering competitive spirit when it comes to the game. Regarding the fans down in Mexico, the 61-year-old called them “passionate” and said he looks forward to seeing a healthy crowd of Chiefs supporters cheering for another victory.