Chiefs Preseason Darling Leaves With Injury Amid Late Roster Push

Matt Bushman

Getty Kansas City Chiefs tight end Matt Bushman with BYU in 2018.

As the Kansas City Chiefs faced off against the Green Bay Packers in the third and final preseason outing, one roster longshot stole the show for KC.

“It’s Matt Bushman’s world and we’re all living in it,” tweeted KC Sports Network writer Kent Swanson at the height of the pandemonium. At that point in the game, the second-year NFL tight end prospect had already accumulated 73 yards and two touchdowns off three targets (all catches).

His biggest moment was a 54-yard reception from third-string QB Shane Buechele, in which he slipped behind coverage for a wide-open conversion. Unfortunately, Bushman’s night didn’t end as well as it began.

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Bushman Picks up Untimely Injury

The Athletic’s Nate Taylor was the first to report on the tight end’s early departure, noting that he appeared to have “hurt his right arm.”

Later, Taylor informed that it was a “right shoulder injury” that forced Bushman from the game. The television broadcast then showed a visual of the preseason darling heading into the locker room.

Needless to say, he was unable to return to action.

Things went from bad to worse when Fox 4 KC reporter Harold R. Kuntz revealed that “Bushman suffered a fractured clavicle” after the game.

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What Could Have Been…

Before his injury, Bushman was gaining a ton of attention on social media. Head coach Andy Reid has kept four tight ends in years past and after Blake Bell was forced to have surgery on his hip, the fan sentiment has been that there could be an opening at TE4.

“Makes you wonder about the final 53,” Arrowhead Live film analyst Caleb James commented while digging up a popular Bushman tweet from February of 2021.

The post from CBS producer Ben Fennell read: “Matt Bushman led [BYU] in receiving [three years] in a row. Then [an] Achilles injury in 2020. If he rode the wave with Zach Wilson this year, we’d be talking about a Top 50 TE. Outstanding radius/hands!”

Another asked Taylor “how likely” Bushman was to make the active roster during a halftime Q&A. The response was much more open-ended than you might have thought a couple of weeks ago.

“It’s going to be super close,” Taylor admitted. “Chiefs likely won’t carry 4 running backs [and] 4 tight ends.”

That would have set up a potential three-headed roster battle between a running back like Ronald Jones II and another tight end like Jordan Franks — who was turning heads earlier this summer — but the clavicle update from Reid should take Bushman out of the running.

That could set up a scenario where Franks makes the roster. “Matt Bushman and Jordan Franks both had their good days up at training camp, too,” voiced Arrowhead Pride’s Pete Sweeney earlier in the night. “Sneaky deep, deep, deep room. It was even deeper prior to Blake Bell going down.”

As always, the Chiefs will have some tough decisions to make before Tuesday’s deadline, and it truly is a shame that a promising talent like Bushman saw his 2022 roster push derailed just when he was finally starting to gain some steam. At the very least, his tape might have earned him a practice squad role or a job outside of Kansas City.

Now the focus will shift toward the road to recovery.

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