When Kansas City Chiefs injured defender Khalen Saunders was notified by the NFL that he had a performance-enhancing drug test on the morning of Thursday, December 9, it was, you could say — strange timing.
Saunders, a key part of the rotation along the interior of Kansas City’s defensive line, hasn’t played a game since October 24, which was when Kansas City lost to the Tennessee Titans 27-3. Saunders was placed on injured reserve (knee) on November 30, putting an end to his 2021 campaign in which he recorded two tackles in seven games played, per Pro Football Reference.
So, why was Saunders the choice to be drug tested? We don’t know.
But Saunders had something to say about it.
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Saunders: Nothing About Performance is Enhanced
Using Twitter as the vessel, Saunders shared the news of his drug test, and why he thinks the NFL couldn’t be more wrong, taking a jab at himself in the process.
“NFL just notified me i have a performance enhancing drug test this morning.. big fella i been inactive for 6 weeks.. clearly ain’t [expletive] about my performance enhanced ,” wrote Saunders.
Even though Saunders’ points are valid, he likely still had to appear for his drug test.
Chiefs Protect CB as Insurance for Lammons
With special teams standout Chris Lammons getting injured in Sunday’s Week 13 win over the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs have protected their next man up on the practice squad in Week 14.
Kansas City has used a player protection on cornerback Josh Jackson, according to the NFL’s transaction report.
Lammons suffered a high-ankle spread in Kansas City’s 22-9 victory over Denver in Week 13, which puts his availability for the Chiefs’ Week 14 game against the Las Vegas Raiders in jeopardy. He missed Wednesday and Thursday’s practices, per the team’s official injury report, putting him on track to be inactive against the division rivals.
While Reid didn’t say definitively that Jackson would be the next man up in Lammons’ role if Lammons were to miss the upcoming game, Jackson was the first and only guy Big Red noted as an option.
“We’ll just see how that rolls,” Reid said during his press conference on Wednesday, December 8 when asked who Lammons’ replacement would be. “We’ve got some guys—(Josh) Jackson you guys know about, and he can work in there too and do some stuff. We’ve got a variety of guys that we can use.”
Jackson entered the league as a second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in the 2018 NFL Draft. During the next three seasons, he would accumulate 71 tackles, 12 passes defended, and two tackles for loss, per Pro Football Reference. On August 17, the Packers traded Jackson to the New York Giants, who then waived him on October 26. After clearing waivers, the Chiefs signed him to their practice squad.
Lammons is in the midst of a Pro Bowl-caliber season as a gunner for the Chiefs, which has his teammates cheering for his nomination on social media. His presence in the lineup will be missed if he is forced to miss time, as the play of the defense and special teams have been the catalysts for Kansas City’s current 5-game win streak.