For the last several months, multiple members of the K.C. Chiefs roster have been resting, recuperating, rehabilitating, and working their way back into game shape in order to get ready for this very moment as the team returns to St. Joseph, Missouri and an NFL training camp.
Other teams are dealing with injuries that are perhaps more severe than the questions currently facing the Chiefs, but the team is not without its fair share of players coming off of serious injuries. Some of these players have a real chance fro solve problems at positions of need, but it all comes down to just how healthy and ready they are for the demands of another NFL season.
It’s been some time since some of these guys were in the spotlight, which makes it easy to forget about who was injured and what to expect from them going forward. With that in mind, we wanted to help Chiefs Kingdom with an in-depth look at the players returning from injury, what we know about them, and what sort of impact they’re looking to make early in 2021.
Willie Gay Jr., LB
The Chiefs lost a couple young defenders late in the 2020 regular season when they faced the Los Angeles Chargers, one of them being the team’s most exciting young linebacker in Willie Gay, Jr.
A high ankle sprain kept Gay out of the postseason entirely for the Chiefs, a premature ending to a mixed bag of a first year overall in the NFL. The Chiefs first drafted Gay as an obvious developmental project, an uber-athletic player with a high ceiling who would need reps and coaching to realize his potential. Unfortunately it’s clear the coaches didn’t feel he was quite ready for a heavy mental load as he played in only 25 percent of all defensive snaps in 2020.
Coming into another year, fans and coaches are hopeful this will be a breakout season for Gay. He’s already stated that he’s 100 percent recovered from his ankle injury, but it will be something to watch as he gets back on the field and competes for the first time since going down.
If Gay can turn the corner and process the game in ways that allow his natural instincts to come forth, the Chiefs are going to look much, much better in the heart of the defense.