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Dave Toub: It’s ‘a possibility’ that Kadarius Toney will return some Super Bowl kicks

In Las Vegas, Kansas City’s special teams coordinator may get a chance to use the speedy wideout on returns.

NFL: NOV 20 Eagles at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

During the 2022 season, there was never a dull moment when Kansas City Chiefs’ special teams coordinator Dave Toub met with reporters. There were many miscues on the field — and his placekicker, Harrison Butker, struggled through much of the season after sustaining an injury during the Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals. This led to many difficult press conferences for Toub.

But in 2023, things have been a lot calmer — thanks in part to solid performances from kick returner Richie James.

“I just think it’s a thing that happened last year — really, just [to] really one guy,” Toub reflected to reporters on Friday as the team prepared to face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas a week from this Sunday. “I mean, we’ve been solid this year. I’m happy [with] the way Richie’s been handling things. You know, he’s got a lot of experience and played a lot of these big games before. So we’re confident with him.”

Still — now that speedy wide receiver Kadarius Toney is off the injury report for the first time since... well, the beginning of the season — Toub says there’s a “possibility” the team may use him for some kick returns.

“It’s up to Coach,” said Toub — referring to head coach Andy Reid. “[We’ll] see how the week goes. It’ll be that sixth guy — whoever is going to be up at that wide receiver spot. [Toney] is definitely in the mix, though.”

In the meantime, Toub is preparing to face the 49ers’ kick returner: Ray-Ray McCloud.

“He’s very good,” noted Toub. “I mean, he’s obviously an experienced guy. We faced him last year [and] he had a couple of nice returns against us. He’s solid. [He’s a] strong, spinner-type returner — ‘slasher’ we call it, you know — but he’s very good.”

Like Kansas City, San Francisco could have an ace up its sleeve in the return game: wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Toub also said his unit is preparing for the possibility that the versatile 49ers wideout will be out there for some kicks.

Then, there is the issue of the playing field. State Farm Stadium — where Butker was injured in last season’s Week 1 and where both the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles struggled with footing in Super Bowl LVII — has a natural playing field that normally sits outside in the sun but is rolled into the stadium before the game. Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas has the same setup — but it will be the fourth time Kansas City has played there since it opened in 2020, winning all of its games against the stadium’s main tenant: the Las Vegas Raiders.

“Evidently, [the field is] outside,” said Toub. “They [will] roll it in [on] Thursday night; that’s what we heard. Then they’re going to put the goalposts up Thursday night. We will get a practice over there on Friday. We’ll go over and kind of walk around — and maybe hit some balls — but just get a feel for what it looks like on Friday.”

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