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Chiefs release UDFA defensive back

Over the weekend, the Chiefs brought their roster back to 80 players following the signing of safety Adrian Colbert.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 05 Texas at West Virginia Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last Tuesday, we learned that former Miami Dolphins safety Adrian Colbert intended to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs — that is, as soon as he could pass the three-day COVID-19 testing protocol, get into the facility and go through the normal free-agent process.

By Friday evening, we knew that the team had signed Colbert to a one-year contract.

Over the weekend, the Chiefs made their corresponding move, bringing the roster back down to 80 players by waiving undrafted rookie defensive back Hakeem Bailey.

Bailey, who stands at 6 feet and 188 pounds, played cornerback in 32 games across three seasons at West Virginia, accumulating 135 tackles (106 solo, 4.5 for loss), two interceptions and 16 passes defensed. The Chiefs signed him immediately following the NFL draft. Now that he’s cleared waivers, he’s free to find work elsewhere in the NFL.

When we first learned of Colbert’s pending arrival in Kansas City, it was easy to think of it as a move intended to protect the Chiefs if safety Juan Thornhill ended up being unable to play at the beginning of the season. But the next day, Thornhill passed his physical — and on Sunday, he returned to team drills.

Afterward, Thornhill appeared on the team’s in-house “Training Camp Live” online broadcast, telling hosts Mitch Holthus and Matt McMullen that in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, everyone is expected to be able to play any position in the secondary.

“Some guys just label themselves as ‘just a cornerback’ or ‘just a safety,’” said Thornhill. “But when you come into our defensive room, we’re defensive backs. So you can play pretty much anywhere — wherever coach (Andy Reid) asks you to play. If he wants you playing corner, you need to go out there and know what the corner’s doing; you’ve got to know what the nickel’s doing. So we don’t label ourselves as one specific type of player. We want to be able to do everything on the field.”

So Colbert’s signing (and that of safety Tedric Thompson before him) might actually have been to simply improve the secondary’s talent level across the board as the Chiefs prepare for life without starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who will begin the season with a four-game suspension.