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The battle to become the Chiefs’ backup placekicker is now over

On Saturday, Kansas City safety Justin Reid has his moment to shine on special teams.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

To build this next version of the Kansas City Chiefs, general manager Brett Veach started the offseason by signing safety Justin Reid to a three-year contract, hoping to recharge the defense after the departure of Tyrann Mathieu.

Reid began his 2022 campaign on Saturday. In the preseason opener against the Chicago Bears, Reid played nine snaps with the rest of the first-team defense, recording a tackle.

But that’s not the snap that everyone’s talking about. It's not even the one in which he has the most pride.

After the game, the former Houston Texans safety came to the podium — and before a reporter could ask a single question, Reid was repeating, “Golden toe.”

After a touchdown pass to Justin Watson from Shane Buechele near the end of the first half, the special-teams unit had come onto the field for the extra-point attempt. But placekicker Harrison Butker wasn’t among them. Instead — thanks to a plan devised by special-teams coordinator Dave Toub and head coach Andy Reid — it was Justin Reid.

“Coach Toub [and] Coach Reid let me know [that] if it looked good in pregame [warmups],” Justin Reid recalled to reporters, “then if the opportunity presented, they [would] give me a shot. And pregame went pretty well. I got the opportunity — and [the kick] went down the middle. So that was awesome.”

Last week, the safety spoke about his longtime search for a chance to kick. In training camp practices last week, he was admittedly up and down — drilling one unopposed 65-yard field goal, but also shanking one wide left in a special-teams snap.

So in Saturday’s meaningless preseason game, he got the opportunity he was hoping to have.

“Golden toe,” he said after the game. “Man, I could finally check that one off. Yes, it’s a great feeling.”

Following the PAT, Reid could be seen smiling from ear to ear on the sideline.

The head coach also spoke about it after the game.

“Listen,” said Andy Reid, “it’s hard. Truthfully, it’s hard to find a backup kicker. You can’t carry two of them, right? That’s a tough thing to do. So for him to be a legitimate kicker, I think is a positive thing for us. He can boom it now. He had the one muff-up in training camp, but he has been pretty good with his kicks.”

As we reported last week, Reid had preseason kickoff experience during his years with the Texans. And now, it looks like he’s actually being prepared to be the emergency backup.

Just so all the facts are on the table, it should be noted that Andy Reid said Butker had a sore ankle during Monday’s practice — which undoubtedly entered into the decision for Justin Reid to take field-goal snaps. But it also demonstrates why having a backup placekicker could be very useful.

So it looks like the Butker’s backup really is locked up. It wasn’t exactly the position battle we were looking for Kansas City to solidify so early in the preseason — but there it is.

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