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Chiefs activate offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, cut Ron Parker

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The starting right guard is back on the team’s 53-man roster, but it remains to be seen if the plan is for him to reenter the lineup right away.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs have activated right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif from injured reserve, waiving safety Ron Parker to make room, the team announced via its official Twitter account on Tuesday.

Duvernay-Tardif, 27, started five games for the Chiefs before suffering a fractured fibula in the team’s Week 5 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Chiefs subsequently placed Durvernay-Tardif on injured reserve but always left the door open for him to return.

Durvernay-Tardif began practicing again on December 26, starting a three-week clock in which the team had to either activate the starting right guard or place him back on injured reserve for good. Tuesday marked the deadline, and the Chiefs opted to bring him back.

Each NFL team can bring back two players a season from injured reserve, and the Chiefs used their option on Duvernay-Tardif and safety Daniel Sorensen earlier this season.

Whether Duvernay-Tardif returns to the lineup right away remains to be seen. Andrew Wylie has played well in Duvernay-Tardif’s absence, and the fact that the decision was made right up against the deadline makes you wonder if Duvernay-Tardif if fully ready to return.

The release of Parker, 31, is no surprise. With the injuries to both Eric Berry and Sorensen, Parker played more than 1,000 snaps for the Chiefs this season, but with Sorensen playing well and the emergence of Jordan Lucas, he was benched Week 15.

There is some speculation that Parker’s release could mean good things for Berry’s potential to play against the New England Patriots in the AFC championship this weekend, but at this point, I’d contend it could say more about Dorian O’ Daniel’s status.

O’Daniel missed the Chiefs’ divisional round game against the Indianapolis Colts with a calf injury, and three safeties—Lucas, Sorensen and Eric Murraysaw more than 80 percent of defensive snaps.

Parker’s release is bittersweet. While it was certainly time, Parker has meant a lot to Kansas City over the past six years. Parker was the last remaining member of the “Magnificent Seven,” the seven players claimed during waiver-wire weekend in 2013 that contributed to the greatest single-season turnaround in the team’s history.

Parker had two interceptions this season, including one against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football.

From my column, The Re-Up, after the game:

My favorite moment of the game was safety Ron Parker’s interception for his first career touchdown, except I didn’t know it at the time. That changed when I heard Parker’s pregame story:

“That was a great feeling man,” Parker said. “That’s what I was waiting on my whole career. It was crazy. My daughter asked me before the game, ‘Hey daddy, how come you don’t score a touchdown?’ So that one was for her.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Parker, he bounced around the league before finding a home with the Chiefs in 2013. Parker carved out a career for himself in Kansas City from 2013-2017, but the Chiefs released him back in March to save salary cap space. He rejoined the Chiefs when it didn’t work out with the Atlanta Falcons and is making the most of his opportunity. I love little stories like this that transcend the game. That play and that pregame moment is something Parker will never forget, and maybe now, neither will you.

The Chiefs return to practice Wednesday as they begin preparation for the AFC championship. It will be worth keeping an eye on the status of Durvernay-Tardif.