Chiefs linebacker Ben Niemann leaves with hamstring injury vs Falcons

The Chiefs have lost Ben Niemann to injury against the Falcons in Week 16.

The Kansas City Chiefs have lost linebacker Ben Niemann to a hamstring injury in the second quarter during the team’s game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16.

Niemann left in the second quarter to the locker room as the Falcons were driving with what looked like a leg injury.  The Falcons would go on to score the game’s first touchdown on the drive. The team still has yet to make an official update.

Niemann has taken on greater importance in recent weeks as fellow linebacker Damien Wilson was lost to a knee injury for the past two weeks. This is Wilson’s third game missed with the knee problem, but the Chiefs have yet to make any sort of long-term plan and haven’t placed him on injured reserve. Since his absence, Niemann has been playing starter’s reps in the lineup—85 percent or more of the team’s defensive snaps.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the loss of Niemann compounds a problem that was already glaring coming into the game. Niemann was just one of a few healthy linebackers as Anthony Hitchens, another starter, was shelved this week as he’s stuck quarantining on the COVID/reserve list. That makes second-round pick Willie Gay, Jr., who has been limited in snaps all season, as the lead linebacker at this point along with former undrafted free agents Omari Cobb and Darius Harris.

Cobb was brought up to the active roster on Saturday from the practice squad. Harris was a 2019 signee who has at least been with the team and in Steve Spagnuolo’s system since 2019. We’ll post further updates on Niemann’s condition here.