One of the points of discussion during the Kansas City Chiefs’ preparation to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday has been the situation surrounding Chiefs second-year safety Juan Thornhill. On Friday, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo provided some additional information.
After Thornhill’s strong rookie season — which ended with an ACL injury during the final regular-season game — the former second-round pick appeared to have fully recovered, starting six games to begin 2020. But in the last few weeks, his snap counts have declined — and in Sunday’s game against the Raiders, he saw the lowest use of his career.
After the game, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid referred to Thornhill as a “situational guy” — and the team intended to “bring him back slowly.” On Wednesday, fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu brought the situation a little more into focus, saying that it was “going to take some time” for Thornhill to be back to his 2019 form — adding that it took more than a year after his own ACL injury before he felt like himself again.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Spagnuolo said that he and Thornhill had made the decision together.
“Juan and I talked a week ago,” he said. “The plan was to take some snaps off of him. I think he just needs to be rested a little bit. Him and I had a conversation — in a good way. I’m saying we were trying to figure out how to get him where he was at the end of last year. This is kind of what we’ve come up with now.
“Hopefully, as we go, this thing will get back to where it was before. But we’ll just let it play itself out.”