The Kansas City Chiefs cut their roster down to 53 players on Saturday — and then agreed to sign free agent running back LeSean McCoy. The corresponding move should be announced when the move becomes official on Sunday.
That news aside, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach did share two roster notes worth mentioning during his conference call with the Kansas City media on Saturday.
The Chiefs kept three tight ends on their initial roster — Travis Kelce, Blake Bell and Deon Yelder — despite Yelder dealing with a somewhat mysterious ankle injury. The day before Veach spoke, Andy Reid was not ready to rule out placing Yelder on injured reserve. But on Saturday, Veach sounded like Yelder will be ready to go against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener next Sunday.
“I’m not sure if you have spoken with (head athletic trainer and vice president) Rick (Burkholder) or will speak with Rick, but I would say the early communication I got, I think he will be ready,” Veach said. “I don’t want to speak for coach (Andy Reid) or Rick, but from some of the dialogue I got, is that he will be ready to go this week. We’re looking forward to getting him back out on the field and getting ready to play this week.”
That should be welcomed news for Reid, who occasionally likes to use three-tight end sets — though with the talent at running back and wide receiver on this year’s team, one is left to wonder how often Reid would dial up three tight ends at once.
The second roster note involves offensive lineman Jeff Allen, who was a surprise cut after he was just signed a little more than a week ago.
“We still have time, we’re not done yet,” Veach said. “I will say without getting too much into it, with the rules, we would like to have (Chad) Henne available for a return and we have to carry him a day on the roster. Again, we still have time here and there will be at least one more roster spot we can add and he may be in the mix along with some other guys.”
We’ve explained before that in order for the player to return from IR, he needs to have been on the initial 53-man roster. That is why Henne made the team, and it sounds like Allen will be back once they do move Henne to injured reserve. Each season, NFL teams are allowed to activate two players from injured reserve after eight games away (they can begin practicing again after six weeks).
The Chiefs did not opt to do this with defensive lineman Breeland Speaks, who many thought was a candidate for return after having surgery on right knee. The Chiefs instead placed Speaks on injured reserve prior to the cutdown deadline, which ended his season.
“As far as Speaks, that was tough,” Veach said. “Initially we were hopeful the ACL was intact and the knee was in good shape, then it came back that it was intact, but he had a little bit of a complication as Rick mentioned with the MCL. Again, I don’t want to get too into this, but obviously Rick has been on top of his game the whole time and he said, ‘Hey listen, we want to get some more tests and get some second and third opinions,’ but it looks like there are other things complicating this.
“He’s such a young guy—there’s no way you want to put a designated tag on him and rush him back out there. As Rick mentioned early on, the best way to make sure this thing will fully heal is to take care of it now. I would say with Breeland, yes, we had some early indication that after we got our initial reports that it would be more serious. We were hopeful and we let the swelling go down before the other tests, but the other opinions saw it exactly how Rick saw it.”