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Report: Chiefs releasing wide receiver Byron Pringle

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The Chiefs make a move to allow for the return of De’Anthony Thomas

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

According to a report from friend-of-the-site Terez Paylor of Yahoo! Sports, the Kansas City Chiefs are releasing wide receiver Byron Pringle from the roster.

This is unsurprising... and surprising.

It’s unsurprising because the team needed to create a roster spot to make room for the impending return of De’Anthony Thomas, who spent Week 1 on a suspension for violating the NFL’s personal Conduct Policy.

It’s surprising because Pringle is the player released to make room. But if this move upsets you, remember this: it probably means that wide receiver Tyreek Hill is not headed to injured reserve; releasing Pringle wouldn’t have been necessary if the Chiefs intended to put Hill on the injured list.

However, according to a report from another friend-of-the-site — Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest — the Chiefs are hoping that Pringle will clear waivers so they can put him on the practice squad.

Still... it’s disappointing. Pringle appeared to be on the way to make the roster as an undrafted free agent before the beginning of last season, but missed out on the chance when he was injured before the season began. He drew praise from Chiefs coaches during the offseason, making the roster despite stiff competition from rookies like Cody Thompson.

Given that Tremon Smith — who presumably made the Chiefs roster because of his demonstrated skill at returning kickoffs in 2018 — didn’t get a single opportunity to return one against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, it wouldn’t have been a surprise for Smith to be released to make way for Thomas. But Smith was on the field for 16 of 30 special teams snaps against the Jaguars, so it would appear that special teams coordinator Dave Toub is satisfied to have Smith on the roster for other special teams duties.

And it remains possible — if not likely — that Smith could see snaps on both defense and offense. Ostensibly a cornerback on a team with little depth at the position, Smith has nonetheless seen few snaps on defense — and during training camp, spent time getting reps with the offensive unit.

So with Thomas’ return, the Chiefs have two similar players — Smith and Thomas — with strong special teams skills, but little demonstrated value beyond that. It’s yet another indication of the influence Toub has on the team’s personnel decisions.