Kansas City Chiefs tight end Jody Fortson has long been a fan favorite of many because of his unique path to the NFL. A true underdog story, Fortson came from Division II Valdosta State University and then signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2019.
It took Fortson a couple of years to develop on the practice squad before eventually earning his shot on the main roster in 2021, but you'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who wasn't ecstatic about Fortson making the roster. At 6'4", 230 lbs, Fortson flashed his contested catch ability with his monstrous frame for Kansas City prior to making the team. Everyone could see the potential.
Since then, Fortson has put on some impressive performances as a tight end for the Chiefs, catching 6 touchdowns on just 23 career receptions. Mainly utilized in the red zone, Fortson made sure to make the most of his limited opportunity by coming down with almost everything thrown his way.
Despite showing flashes and being somewhat of a touchdown machine, it appears that fan favorite Fortson may have seen his last snap as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jody Fortson's time with KC Chiefs could be over
Sadly, Fortson is no stranger to injuries in his career. He already missed nearly all of 2021 with a ruptured Achilles injury and then missed a significant portion of last season with an elbow injury. Then, most recently, Fortson was placed on season-ending IR due to a dislocated shoulder.
You know how the saying goes: "The best ability is availability." Unfortunately, Fortson has rarely been available. While injuries are out of Fortson's control, it's not worth it to teams to waste roster spots on players who are hardly ever there.
Furthermore, Fortson was already in apparent danger of not making the roster as he was being shown as the 3rd or 4th string tight end on the Chiefs first official depth chart prior to preseason week 1.
While some of this is due to the fact that Fortson has been hurt, it's also hard to ignore the rise of tight end Matt Bushman, who was a star of last year's preseason but ended up sustaining a broken clavicle in the final preseason game.
Bushman has made his return this training camp and preseason and by all accounts, has made some big plays in training camp, and made an impressive catch on a crisp route against the Saints in preseason week 1 that was unfortunately called back due to penalty.
Travis Kelce and Noah Gray are obviously locks to make the team. Then, there's Blake Bell, who when you compare to Fortson may not be a better player, but he is the better blocker and he can play the H-back role and if the Chiefs aren't carrying a fullback this year then that increases the importance of keeping Bell around.
Four tight ends is a lot to carry to begin with. Not to mention the possibility of keeping seven receivers which has been theorized. When you start to crunch numbers when projecting the 53-man roster, it seems like Fortson's path to making the roster was already beginning to get murky. When you add yet another major injury on top of it all, this seems like it may be it for the Jody Fortson experiment.