The K.C. Chiefs will be without linebacker Anthony Hitchens as he’s battling with a hamstring injury early in training camp.
Nate Taylor of The Athletic had word from St. Joseph that the team’s linebackers would be practicing without their leader on Thursday after he tweaked the hamstring the previous day. Hitchens‘ condition will be something to watch throughout the rest of the week.
Hitchens is playing a key role for the Chiefs this year as the leader in the heart of a defense that looks ready to pass the torch at the position in 2021 and beyond. The Chiefs invested consecutive second round picks in the last two draft classes in linebackers Willie Gay, Jr. (2020) and Nick Bolton (2021) and Hitchens’ veteran presence is going to be vital to help them grow into larger roles.
Anthony Hitchens is nursing a hamstring injury for the Chiefs.
Gay already looks solid so far in camp after having a year to adjust to the game at the pro level. Last season, Gay was only in on about a quarter of all defensive snaps and suffered a late-season injury that kept him out of the postseason. However, he’s expected to make a significant leap in terms of production and responsibility in his second season as the Chiefs need him to step up in a coverage linebacker role.
In terms of Bolton, he’s an exciting young linebacker in the mold of Hitchens out of Missouri, but handling that much communication in the middle of the field while simultaneously adjusting himself is overwhelming for any rookie, even one with so much starting experience in the SEC.
Hitchens, who is in his fourth season with the Chiefs, had 78 total tackles for the Chiefs in 14 starts last season.