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Chiefs send Blake Bell to injured reserve, make practice squad swap

Kansas City’s blocking tight end will miss the first four games of the NFL season.

Kansas City Chiefs v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

As was to be expected, the Kansas City Chiefs have officially placed tight end Blake Bell on their injured reserve list. Bell injured his hip during the team’s first preseason game against the Chicago Bears and the injury required surgery.

“Blake Bell will go to [injured reserved],” said head coach Andy Reid during his Monday Zoom press conference. “We’ll put him down. [We] haven’t made any decisions on how we replace that going forward but we’ll have that all taken care of this week.”

At the time of this writing, it is still unclear who the Chiefs will call up to their 53-man roster, though previous reports have nudged the idea that practice squad linebacker Elijah Lee, who had been the starter at SAM linebacker throughout the preseason, would be the pick. However, the Chiefs could use practice-squad elevation rules to get Lee up for Week 1 Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Bell making the initial 53-man roster indicates the Chiefs do expect him back before the end of the year. The IR placement means he will miss at least the first four games of the season. Second-year tight end Noah Gray sounds like he will be the pick to replace Bell’s blocking duties in the meantime.

“Noah probably did more of it than what Jody [Fortson] did in that particular spot,” added Reid. “But, they’re all going to play. Those are good players. And so, there are some things we can do with them – mixing personnels.”

A practice squad swap

The Chiefs signed safety James Wiggins to their practice squad, saying goodbye to linebacker Azur Kamara — according to the Chiefs’ official roster page.

Wiggins, 25, first entered the league as a seventh-round pick made by the Arizona Cardinals during the 2021 NFL Draft. Wiggins didn’t make their 53-man roster but remained on the practice squad until an October call-up. In December, Wiggins’ season ended early when his “knee didn’t respond the way he had hoped.” The Cardinals placed the Cincinnati product on injured reserve in December.

Of course, the Chiefs’ roster is Cincinnati-friendly, with tight end Travis Kelce and Wiggins’ former teammate, rookie safety Bryan Cook, also playing for Kansas City.

In three appearances for the Cardinals, Wiggins registered 35 special-teams snaps.

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