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Noah Gray sounds ready to step up if Travis Kelce misses season-opener vs. Lions

The 2021 fifth-round pick has been learning from Kelce since he was drafted.

NFL: OCT 02 Chiefs at Buccaneers Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Suddenly, it’s possible the Kansas City Chiefs could be without more than just their best defensive player against the Detroit Lions on Thursday night. The team’s top offensive weapon, tight end Travis Kelce, “hyperextended” his knee in practice on Tuesday, according to head coach Andy Reid.

Following the news, media members surrounded the locker of Kansas City’s No. 2 tight end, Noah Gray. The Chiefs drafted Gray in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

“Just got to go out there and play the game plan our coaches have set forth for us,” said Gray, alluding to the fact that it is too late to shift any strategy. “It doesn’t [change the game plan]. Just going to do our job and play the game plan that coach Reid set out for us, and we’re just going to work hard at it.Veteran Blake Bell joins Grayll on the active roster, and the club also has Matt Bushman and Gerrit Prince on its practice squad. Bushman would likely get the call-up if Kelce is ruled out.

“We got some great tight ends in the room, and I think all the guys are ready,” added Gray. “I don’t think it should add any stress.”

Chiefs tight ends coach Tom Melvin spoke to media members regarding Gray’s development in mid-August, and he had many positive things to say about the 24-year-old.

“Every year you’re going to get a year better and he’s got a lot of playing time,” said Melvin of Gray at the time. “He’s done a great job because we move him around to all the different positions we have, as far as the formations are concerned and he’s able to handle all of those. [He’s a] really smart, instinctual kid and he’s gotten better at knowing what he’s doing and perfecting that, knowing what the defense is doing. Now in his third year, he’s starting to set things up and that’s the progression you look for. He’s doing a real good job in camp right now with that.”

Kelce has missed just one start since Gray’s arrival: the Chiefs’ Week 16 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021. With Kelce on the COVID-19 list, Gray had two catches for 12 yards.

Despite being behind Kelce, Gray was targeted at least once in every 2022 regular-season and playoff game.

“I think we do a great job in the receiver room of spreading the ball around,” said Gray. “[Patrick Mahomes] is obviously great. It’s awesome playing for him. He does a great job of spreading the ball around in certain situations.

“We have a great running back room as well. The offensive line is amazing. And our defense gets us the ball back.”

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