Chiefs Release Highly Drafted Linebacker After 1 Month With Team

Kamalei Correa Titans Chiefs

Getty Former Titans linebacker Kamalei Correa rushes Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes.

On a star-studded roster featuring the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyrann Mathieu and others, one of the Kansas City Chiefs’ most inexperienced position groups heading into the 2021 season will be at linebacker.

Once again set to be headlined by eighth-year veteran Anthony Hitchens, the unit has seen an influx of highly drafted talent over the past two offseasons with the additions of 2020 second-round pick Willie Gay Jr. and this year’s second-rounder Nick Bolton. However, the Chiefs elected to part ways with another former second-round selection — though not of their own doing — on Thursday.

According to the NFL’s official transaction report for June 3, the team has terminated the contract of linebacker Kamalei Correa.

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Correa Lasted Less Than 1 Month in Kansas City

Kansas City originally signed the five-year veteran to a one-year free agent deal on May 5. Kansas City Sports Network’s Matt Derrick reported on Thursday that Correa was not in attendance during the team’s final OTA practice of the week or listed on the updated roster given to media in attendance.

The 27-year-old was the 42nd overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, landing with the Baltimore Ravens out of Boise State. Correa was later traded twice: first to the Tennessee Titans in August 2018 in exchange for a 2019 sixth-round pick and again in October 2020 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a deal that also netted Tennessee a sixth-round choice.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder went on to make a career-high six starts for the Jaguars last season before leaving the club last December for personal reasons, according to ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. Correa, who has compiled 84 combined tackles, 8.5 sacks and five pass breakups across 63 games (19 starts), was then released on February 11.

With Correa out of the picture and former two-year starter Damien Wilson now in Jacksonville, the Chiefs will move forward with Hitchens, Gay, Bolton and Ben Niemann in prominent roles on defense.

As of June 3, the Chiefs’ roster stands at 89 players, leaving one opening to be filled in the days leading up to training camp on June 15.

11 Veterans Absent From June 3 OTA Session

While Correa was not in attendance for Thursday’s OTA practice due to his looming release, 11 other veterans did not participate in the voluntary session, per Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star.

  • RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
  • RB Darrel Williams
  • OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
  • OL Martinas Rankin
  • DL Jarran Reed
  • DL Frank Clark
  • DL Chris Jones
  • DL Taco Charlton
  • CB Mike Hughes
  • CB Charvarius Ward
  • CB Armani Watts
  • Participation on Tuesday, June 1 and Wednesday, June 2 is unknown as those sessions were closed to the public and media. Following the same routine as last week, Edwards-Helaire, Duvernay-Tardif, Clark and Ward were the only crossovers to sit out each of the first two Thursday workouts.

    One key veteran back in action this week was QB Patrick Mahomes (February toe surgery), who told reporters during his media availability that, “If there was a game [today], I’d be able to play in it, I think.”

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    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!

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