Despite multiple new faces starting along the offensive line in Week 6 due to injury, Kansas City Chiefs pushed around the Buffalo Bills’ defense to the tune of 245 team rushing yards, the most since Andy Reid arrived in 2013. Now, the ailing Chiefs’ front is gearing up for the return of a 2019 starter.
According to the NFL’s official transaction report, third-year guard Martinas Rankin returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since being placed on the season-ending injured reserve list after suffering a significant knee injury last November. Additionally, two other players, DT Khalen Saunders and QB Jordan Ta’amu, were designated to return from IR and restored to the team’s practice squad, respectively.
The 6-foot-5-inch, 311-pound offensive lineman began the 2020 season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, in which he was allowed to rehab and attend team meetings, but unable to practice for six weeks. Per Kansas City Star beat writer Herbie Teope, Kansas City now has three weeks to activate Rankin to the 53-man roster before they risk losing him to injured reserve or worse, having to release the 26-year-old with nearly two seasons remaining on his current four-year contract.
Rankin, who was acquired via trade from the Houston Texans in exchange for RB Carlos Hyde, started five-of-six games at left guard for the Chiefs before his 2019 season was cut short.
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Could Khalen Saunders Return in Week 7?
After suffering a dislocated elbow in the first quarter of Week 1, Saunders received a “fortunate” month-long recovery timetable after he was able to avoid surgery. Similar to Rankin, Kansas City now has three weeks to activate their 2019 third-round draft pick to the active roster after designating him for return from IR on Wednesday.
With only a few days to go until the Chiefs travel to the Mile High City for what looks to be the league’s first snow game of 2020, Saunders remains unlikely to make it back for Week 7.
Once deemed healthy enough to take the field, Saunders will look to surpass the 22 total tackles, two QB hits and 1.0 sack he posted in 12 games last year.
Chiefs Protect Practice Squad OL For Week 7
In addition to Jordan Ta’amu re-joining his teammates following a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list for nearly three weeks, the defending Super Bowl champions made a second move involving a practice squader on Wednesday.
After using one of their four allotted protections for Week 7, offensive guard Danny Isidora is now eligible to be added to the Chiefs’ active roster on Sunday versus the Denver Broncos. The 26-year-old was signed to the practice squad in early September and has played in 24 career games (six starts), including 21 games with the Minnesota Vikings from 2017-18.
On Tuesday, Kansas City also re-signed LB Emmanuel Smith back to the practice squad just over one month after waiving the former undrafted free agent with an injury settlement.