One of the Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive leaders also led the way on special teams in Sunday’s 44-21 Week 1 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
After kicker Harrison Butker rolled his ankle, safety Justin Reid was called upon to hit an extra point. The idea of Reid serving the team as a backup kicker felt like a comedic sideshow during training camp and preseason, but that notion turned serious Sunday in Arizona; Butker looked to be in pain.
Shortly after Butker’s injury, the Chiefs scored their second touchdown of the game. With Butker unavailable, Reid came on for the extra point.
“I just got thrown straight into the fire, to be honest with you,” said Reid. “They let me know Butker hurt his ankle and that I was up, and I was like, ‘OK. Let’s ride.’ I knew I was ready for it. Never short of confidence, so I had a lot of fun with it.”
The 33-yard kick (the distance of every extra point) was good.
“This is on the record books,” said Reid, who made an extra point during the Chiefs’ preseason. “I didn’t keep the ball. I wasn’t worried about that. I know I got the film. At this point, I always wanted to put it on tape just to be able to let people know: No. I really can kick. Well, it’s up there now, and I’m sure everyone’s seen it, so it’s going to be up there forever.”
Head coach Andy Reid was full of compliments for his safety-kicker hybrid in his post-game press conference. Of Reid’s seven kickoffs, five went for touchbacks.
“He’s got a big leg,” said Reid. “I know that. And those kickoffs were something. He had the one extra point and I believe he missed the second one, but we just appreciate him being able to do that. I thought he did a heck of a job.”
As the head coach mentioned, his safety did miss his next extra-point attempt wide left, so after working with the team’s athletic trainers, the Chiefs were happy Butker was able to push through the pain enough to begin kicking again.
Because he was ailing, Butker had to change his approach for the Chiefs’ 54-yarder, taking just two steps before launching the ball. The kick was good.
One step, two step. 54 yards. pic.twitter.com/lNVxHBKGrm— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) September 12, 2022
“Shoot, man. I’ll tell you what — as impressive as everyone likes to say a safety kicking is, how about Harrison taking one step and kicking a 50-plus-yard field goal?” asked Justin Reid. “That was unbelievable, you know what I mean? I know a little bit about kicking. That was absolutely unbelievable — for him to be able to step up through that. Grind through the pain — take one step and drive it home. Really, really impressive.”
The safety-turned-placekicker added that the experience reminded him of high school football, where it’s commonplace for players to serve multiple roles. He also had a message for Chiefs general manager Brett Veach.
“We might need to talk about putting some incentives in there at this point,” he deadpanned to a roomful of laughter.