The first major injury of the offseason has struck the Kansas City Chiefs as the team wraps up its final session of organized team activities on Thursday, June 10.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, offensive lineman Kyle Long is expected to be sidelined through at least part of August after suffering a lower leg injury on Wednesday.
“#Chiefs guard Kyle Long suffered a leg injury that could keep him out of training camp, sources tell me and [Ian Rapoport]. After initial concern it could be a serious injury, Long underwent tests and the hope now is he could be back right before the start of the regular season,” Pelissero tweeted, later adding that Long “has a chance to be ready Week 1.”
The latest Chiefs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Chiefs newsletter here!
A source told The Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell that the Week 1 timeline is “probably wishful thinking,” but not entirely out of the question yet.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, head coach Andy Reid confirmed that the injury doesn’t appear to have impacted any of Long’s major ligaments, but there’s still a “chance he has to have surgery,” per McDowell.
Long took to Twitter shortly after the news broke to thank his more than 350,000 followers for an outpouring of well wishes.
Chiefs Have Built Strong Depth at Guard in 2021
The 32-year-old veteran had been taking first-team reps at right guard for Kansas City during phase one of the NFL’s offseason program. The reigning AFC champions can fall back on some solid depth at the position with 2020 starter Andrew Wylie, third-year reserve Nick Allegretti, sixth-round pick Trey Smith and former five-year starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
Things have been noticeably quiet around Duvernay-Tardif after the French-Canadian doctor confirmed in a May 8 Instagram post that he was beginning to “transition back into football” after serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
FanSided’s national NFL reporter Matt Verderame believes Smith could be the next man up, tweeting on Thursday, “The Chiefs are very pleased with him, and now Smith has an opening at RG. I’m told he’s looked every bit the steal many thought he was.”
Long’s Long List of Injuries Grows
Widely considered a stellar talent during his seven-season run with the Chicago Bears from 2013 to 2019, Long’s career got off to a promising start after making three consecutive Pro Bowls over his first three years, the last coming at right tackle in 2015.
However, the days since have been marked with injuries, derailing what appeared to be a Canton-bound trajectory for the brother of former No. 2 overall pick Chris Long and son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long.
After starting 47 of his first 48 games as a pro, Long started just 29 of a possible 64 regular season games from 2016-19, and no more than 10 in a single season during that span.
The culprit? A lengthy list of ailments including:
- Viral infection (2014 offseason).
- Hip injury (2014 season).
- Torn shoulder labrum (2016 offseason).
- Arm, triceps and ankle injury/surgery (2016 season).
- Ankle injury (2017 offseason and season).
- Neck, shoulder and elbow surgeries (2018 offseason).
- Foot and hip injuries (2018 season).
The 6-foot-6 guard has even had to work his way back from a 40-pound weight loss in 2016-17 (down to 265 pounds at his lowest) due to complications stemming from an ankle surgery. Upon signing, Long was back around the 315-pound mark, according to NFL reporter Adam Kaplan.
The former first-rounder had been impressing his teammates and colleagues with a number of workout videos throughout his journey back to the gridiron this spring.
Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!