The Kansas City Chiefs are trending toward getting back a key defensive player ahead of their Week 14 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. After logging several limited practices last week, linebacker Nick Bolton returned to full practice on Wednesday afternoon. It's safe to say that his Chiefs teammates, like star defensive lineman Chris Jones, were ecstatic to get back their starting MIKE linebacker.
"That's my linebacker, said defensive lineman Chris Jones with a smile. "I'm so excited to have him back. I know he makes a huge difference for this defense."
Wednesday was Bolton's first full practice since suffering a fractured wrist in Week 7 against the Los Angeles Chargers. The injury forced him to miss the past five games after being placed on the team's injured reserve. With his return looking likely this coming weekend, Bolton should be ready to make his presence felt on the field once again.
"It's a huge impact," defensive lineman Mike Danna said of Bolton's return. "Nick's a great player. He's a significant impact player. Just having his presence, he's a dog on that field and his football IQ is out of this world."
Bolton has been one of the Chiefs' most productive players since being drafted in the second round of 2021 NFL Draft. In his first year, Bolton recorded 112 tackles and 11 tackles for loss, becoming only the second rookie since 2015 to record over 100 and 10 in those categories. In his second year, Bolton built on his success by breaking the Chiefs' all-time franchise record for most tackles in a season with a total of 180.
While Bolton's statistical impact was always evident, Jones says there was something much more significant that he brings to Kansas City's defense.
"His leadership," Jones said describing Bolton's best qualities, "his play-calling, his adjustments to the game — he just does a tremendous job for us as a leader."
Bolton's return comes just in time as the Chiefs prepare for a big AFC matchup against the Bills. Buffalo's offense features multiple playmakers capable of ruining a defensive game plan. Fortunately for the Chiefs, they'll be getting back their defensive signal caller to aid them for the challenge ahead.
"Having him back is going to be great," noted Danna. "It's great to see 32 back out there again."