While the NFL has a few notable brotherly duos across the league, it’s not every day that they have the opportunity to play for the same team. On Thursday however, the Kansas City Chiefs came one step closer to make that a reality for one of their own.
According to the official NFL transaction report for November 12, the defending champions hosted free agent punter Johnny Townsend for a visit. The 25-year-old is the older brother of Chiefs’ rookie punter Tommy Townsend, who signed with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent this offseason and ultimately filled the void left behind by 15-year veteran Dustin Colquitt after his release on April 28.
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Johnny Townsend Was Drafted By The Raiders in 2018
Like his brother, the elder Townsend played his college ball at the University of Florida before being selected by the then-Oakland Raiders, who traded up to pick him, in the fifth round (No. 173 overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played all 16 games for the Chiefs’ AFC West rival that year, punting 70 times for 3,022 yards at a modest distance of 43.2 yards per punt. The following offseason got off to a rocky start for the second-year punter and he was ultimately waived after losing the position battle to undrafted rookie A.J. Cole.
Townsend was quickly scooped up by the New York Giants with less than one month prior to the 2019 regular season, but was ultimately cut again due to the lack of time available to evaluate his performance in training camp. He was most recently with the Baltimore Ravens this past offseason, but did not make the team’s 53-man roster.
As noted by USA Today’s Chiefs Wire, the visit may simply be Kansas City doing their due diligence in case of an emergency situation due to COVID-19 or another outside factor. Brother Tommy has looked formidable through the first nine games of his rookie season, pinning 10-of-27 punts inside opponents’ 20-yard lines while still averaging 47.1 yards per kick.
Chiefs Making Moves at Defensive End During Bye Week
Kansas City also made a pair of transactions on Thursday by calling up DE Tim Ward to the 53-man roster and re-signed third-year DE Demone Harris to the practice squad just two days after waiving him to clear a spot for OL Martinas Rankin.
#Chiefs activated DE Tim Ward to the 53-man roster, per source.
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) November 12, 2020
Ward, 23, has been with the Chiefs since 2019 after going undrafted out of Old Dominion, but spent all of last season on injured reserve rehabbing a significant college knee injury. With the team reeling for depth at the defensive end position after losing Taco Charlton for a chunk of time following an ankle fracture in Week 9, Ward makes for an intriguing piece of the defensive puzzle at full health.
Chiefs GM Brett Veach was all over undrafted free agent DE Tim Ward from Old Dominion. Had him in for top-30 visit and asked him to attend regional combine in KC. He didn’t participate due to knee injury. Here he is with Veach and athletic trainer Rick Burkholder. pic.twitter.com/SikIXA2KZE
— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) April 29, 2019
During a postdraft press conference in 2019, general manager Brett Veach called Ward “a prototypical Steve Spagnuolo defensive end” with a chance to develop into a difference-maker in the future.
“The late tape at Old Dominion he really started coming on, we had him in here for one of the workouts here,” Veach told reporters at the time. “The NFL conducted another combine here that we had and he had come to that. Spent a lot of time with him. You may not see him this year, but we’re going to take our time with his rehab, we’re not going to rush him, and he could be a guy that could really develop and be a player in the future.”
The 6-foot-6-inch, 255-pounder could make his professional debut as early as next Sunday when the Chiefs travel to Las Vegas for a rematch with the Raiders in Week 11.