Chiefs Get ‘Optimistic’ Super Bowl Update on Injured Starter: Report

Willie Gay Jr.

Getty Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr. was injured during the AFC Championship.

The Kansas City Chiefs had several key injuries pop up during the AFC Championship and one was to starting linebacker Willie Gay Jr., who left the game with a shoulder issue.

ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler provided an early update ahead of the Super Bowl on January 31, tweeting: “Chiefs LB Willie Gay is optimistic about playing in the Super Bowl despite hurting his shoulder Sunday vs. Cincinnati, per source. Early tests were encouraging.”

Linebacker Darius Harris and safety Bryan Cook helped fill the void with Gay sidelined against the Bengals. Fowler also detailed an injury update on quarterback Patrick Mahomes II on January 30.

Eagles WR AJ Brown Congratulates Chiefs’ Willie Gay on Making the Super Bowl

If Gay is able to fight his way back onto the field for the big game, this one will have special meaning for the energetic defensive team leader. After the Chiefs won on Sunday night, Starkville High School congratulated both Gay and Philadelphia Eagles star wide receiver A.J. Brown on a unique accomplishment.

“Gonna be a Yellow Jacket Super [Bowl]!!” Revealed Jacket Athletics on Twitter. “Proud of our guys on an epic #JacketNextLevel!!” The tweet included photos of Brown and Gay — two high school graduates of the Mississippi football program.

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Brown then shed some light on their background, while also praising his former teammate. “Grew up 5 minutes away from each other. Won a state championship in high school together. Playing for the Super Bowl,” Brown replied. “The city is beyond proud 🤍 @WillieG___”

Gay responded not long after, hinting that he wouldn’t let this shoulder ailment force him to miss his first Super Bowl appearance as a healthy starter.

“We doing it my dawg, lets put on🙏🏾🔥,” Gay messaged back.

Keep in mind, Gay did not play during the 2020-21 postseason run due to a high-ankle sprain late in the campaign and a torn meniscus during his recovery. That was his rookie year in the NFL and the last time the Chiefs made the Super Bowl — a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gay will attempt to make up for that absence here in winter, 2023, just two seasons later as Kansas City heads back to the title game.

Chiefs Re-Sign RB/WR Jerrion Ealy to Practice Squad

Yesterday evening on January 30, the Chiefs also made a familiar roster move. Undrafted rookie Jerrion Ealy was once again signed to the practice squad as Kansas City cut backup kicker Matthew Wright. ESPN insider Field Yates was the first to report on the news.

Ealy has seesawed on and off the KC practice squad more than any other player this season, and it’s almost like the Chiefs have some sort of agreement in place that because there are long-term plans for the Ole Miss product inside the organization, he’ll stick with the franchise after each of these repetitive cuts.

To reiterate past articles, he’s a kick returner and offensive jack-of-all-trades at heart, but lacks an NFL frame at 5-foot-8. In the Andy Reid system, you could see Ealy playing a role similar to veteran third-down back Jerick McKinnon or wide receiver Kadarius Toney if he ever made the jump to the pro level.

For now, the 2022 UDFA appears to be nothing more than an emergency reserve that Kansas City has put through a ton of roster gymnastics. Ealy was also suspended six games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs earlier this season.

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