The Kansas City Chiefs have suffered their first substantial injury of the year. Veteran guard Kyle Long, who was acquired earlier this offseason, suffered a lower leg injury during offseason OTA’s. To many Chiefs fans, this did not come as much of a surprise. Kyle Long has missed significant time due to injury in the past couple of years. He was so injury-riddled that it even led to his early retirement in 2019.
After a short 1-year hiatus, Kyle Long decided to come out of retirement and play for the Kansas City Chiefs. This seemed like a match made in football heaven. Kyle Long got the opportunity to play for a winning football team, and the Chiefs got much-needed depth along the offensive line.
Unfortunately, Kyle Long’s injury history continues to cause problems and take him off the field. The Chiefs have still not released any additional information on the severity of Long’s injury. However, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network offered some insight.
So, it is safe to say Kyle Long will be out at least a few months. This is a huge loss for the offensive line and more specifically, Patrick Mahomes. Fortunately for Chiefs fans, the Chiefs added plenty of offensive line talent this offseason. That being said, here are a few options to replace Kyle Long.
First off, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who opted out last season due to COVID-19, will be returning to the team later this summer. Tardif has been an above-average guard for the Chiefs over the past few years. Tardif is more than capable of replacing Kyle Long at right guard. We don’t even know if Kyle Long would’ve beaten out Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in the first place.
Another option at right guard is 6th round draft pick, Trey Smith. Smith was a 4-year guard at the University of Tennessee. Unfortunately for Smith, his draft stock plummeted due to health concerns relating to previous blood clots in his lungs. Trey Smith was evaluated as a 2nd or 3rd round talent, and he fell to the 6th round. He’s 6’6, 330 with great athleticism and raw potential.
"“He has all the physical and mental tools that you look for and he loves football. That’s an indispensable quality. He loves football, he loves to compete and he’s an extremely physical person.” – Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck"
I understand that Trey Smith starting week 1 is a long shot, but he has the opportunity to play more snaps during training camp due to the absence of Long. I think that Trey Smith is the right guard of the future, even if he doesn’t play much this season.
In conclusion, while the loss of Kyle Long is unfortunate, the Chiefs have been anticipating injuries to occur on the offensive line all offseason. While we don’t know exactly when Kyle Long will be back, I think that Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Trey Smith are more than qualified to fill in!