On Saturday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs announced that they are activating linebacker Willie Gay Jr. to their roster in advance of their Week 7 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. But the team is not choosing to activate injured cornerback Trent McDuffie for this game.
We have activated Practice Squad players CB Dicaprio Bootle and WR Marcus Kemp via Standard Elevation.— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) October 22, 2022
We have activated LB Willie Gay to the 53-man roster. pic.twitter.com/oZOFay7ukq
The Chiefs have also elevated practice-squad cornerback Dicaprio Bootle and wide receiver Marcus Kemp to the roster for Sunday’s game. As elevated players, both will automatically be returned to the practice squad after the game.
Gay has missed the last four Kansas City games while serving an NFL suspension. The third-year linebacker’s suspension was lifted on Monday, but the team requested (and received) a roster exemption for Gay. This allowed the linebacker to practice with the team without taking up a roster spot, giving the Chiefs an opportunity to evaluate whether he was ready to play after a four-week layoff.
McDuffie — one of the team’s first-round picks from last spring’s NFL Draft — suffered a significant hamstring injury during the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. After being placed on the team’s Reserve/Injured (injured reserve) list on September 13, he was required to miss at least four games before becoming eligible to return to the roster.
On October 12, Kansas City officially designated McDuffie for return, opening a 21-day window in which he could practice with the team; in this way, his ability to return could be evaluated. It appears that the Chiefs feel McDuffie is not quite ready to play; they would prefer for him to rest through the team’s Week 8 bye.
The next game on the schedule will be against the Tennessee Titans on November 6. In order to be eligible for that game — or any other game this season — McDuffie will have to be activated to the roster on or before Wednesday, November 2. If he is not activated by then, he must remain on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
In other roster news, Kansas City signed wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette to its practice squad on Friday. 6-feet-1 and 185 pounds, the 23-year-old former Iowa wideout was a fifth-round selection for the Minnesota Vikings in 2021. He appeared in eight games for the Vikings in 2021 (starting one) and six more for the Chicago Bears in 2022. Targeted 10 times over those two seasons, he’s collected six catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns.