It will be a brand new world for Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs if Travis Kelce misses time due to a hyperextended knee he suffered in practice Tuesday, just two days before the reigning Super Bowl champions open the season against the Lions.
Kelce hasn’t missed a game for injury since his 2013 rookie year and has missed just three games overall since: one each in 2017 and 2020 for rest purposes and one in 2021 for COVID-19. Since 2018, when Mahomes took over as Kansas City’s full-time quarterback, Kelce has played nearly 200 offensive snaps more than any other skill-position player in the NFL.
Still, there’s a decent sample size (683 offensive snaps to be exact) that includes Mahomes but not Kelce the situation the Chiefs would face if Kelce’s misses games or is a limited participant going forward. And we can draw some conclusions from those 683 plays.
Before we get there, though, it’s important to know that this is a massive loss. Kelce is as important to his offense as any non-quarterback in the league. He’s Mahomes’ top target, matchup nightmare, red-zone stud, safety valve and go-to guy on extended plays all rolled into one. He’s explosive before and after the catch, he’s reliable, and he and Mahomes have a connection that numbers can’t explain.
“He was limping when I saw him, like, just walking off the field,” said Moore, who added that Kelce left the practice field without any help. “It was a good sign to see him get up by himself and get off the field.”
As for what the offense might look like against the Lions if Kelce can’t play, Moore said, “It’ll be a little bit different. Everybody will be able to fill in the gaps. Obviously, that’s a Hall of Fame tight end, but we’ll be able to do our job and pull across the finish line.”
The Chiefs have two other tight ends on their active roster, Noah Gray and Blake Bell. Gray caught 28 passes with a touchdown last season. Bell missed most of the year with a hip flexor injury but has 60 catches with one touchdown in eight NFL seasons with five teams.
“He’s one of the toughest, and we can’t wait for him to get back out there,” Bell said of Kelce. “We’re just going to keep doing what we do, and the rest of the guys in the room will be ready to roll.”
The Chiefs also have two tight ends on their practice squad, and one, Matt Bushman, was with the Chiefs in training camp. Bushman said he received a few snaps with the starting group after Kelce’s injury, something that normally wouldn’t happen if he wasn’t going to play in the upcoming game.
Jones had been arrested June 16 after authorities at Boston’s Logan Airport said they found a Glock box with two guns and ammunition inside a bag with Jones’ name on it. He was charged with two counts each of unlawful possession of a firearm, carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a large capacity feeding device and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card. He also was charged with two counts of an airport security violation, possession of a concealed weapon in a secure area of the airport. Jones had pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors explained the decision in their filing, stating: “It cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Jones had knowledge that he possessed the firearms in his bag at the time of the incident.”
In addition, they noted an exemption for those requiring a firearm identification card and were “provided documentation and verified that Mr. Jones purchased both firearms lawfully in the state of Arizona and has taken steps to become a lawful gun owner in the state of Massachusetts” within a mandated 60-day period.
Jones’ lawyer, Rosemary Scapicchio, told ESPN in a statement: “Jack is grateful to have this case resolved and he’s looking forward to playing football on Sunday.”
Jones, 33, got off to a slow start last season before picking up steam late with three sacks against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13 and another sack a week later at the Los Angeles Rams. The next week, his improbable 48-yard fumble return against the Patriots as time expired gave the Raiders a 30-24 victory.
An elbow injury at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Christmas Eve ended his season.
In April, the Raiders used the No. 7 draft pick on edge rusher Tyree Wilson, purportedly to learn behind Jones. Wilson, coming off a right foot injury of his own, came off the non-football injury list Aug. 16 and made his preseason debut in the exhibition finale at the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 26.
Dexter, a second-round draft pick, agreed to pay Big League Advance Fund (BLA) 15% of his pre-tax NFL earnings for the next 25 years in exchange for a one-time payment of $436,485 in 2022, according to a copy of a federal lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Gainesville, Florida, on Friday.
According to published reports, Dexter signed a four-year, $6.72 million contract with the Bears on June 16, meaning he would owe BLA about $1 million over the lifetime of that deal.
Florida Rep. Chip LaMarca, who proposed the initial legislation in 2020 that allowed college athletes in Florida to profit off their name, image and likeness, described Dexter’s deal as a “predatory loan.”
“The deals were supposed to be that an athlete could participate in the free market and when they graduate, whether they go on to play professionally or not, any future contracts are null and void,” LaMarca said. “In other words, we didn’t want someone having access to someone’s future without them having proper guidance and proper representation.”
The original Florida NIL law, Senate Bill 646, included the following provision: “The duration of a contract for representation of an intercollegiate athlete or compensation for the use of an intercollegiate athlete’s name, image or likeness may not extend beyond her or his participation in an athletic program at a postsecondary educational institution.”
“Obviously, we wanted to expose college athletes to the same free market that other college students had, but at the same time we wanted to offer some protections,” LaMarca said. “We wanted to make sure that they didn’t get taken advantage of, and this is exactly what we expected to be able to protect, but we also didn’t want to see it happen.
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