FEBRUARY 9: As expected, the Chiefs will not keep anyone in suspense here. Reid’s assessment of Thuney will lead to the Chiefs ruling out their All-Pro left guard two days before Super Bowl LVIII. Kansas City has not ruled out McKinnon yet, but the passing-down back remains in the IR-return window.
FEBRUARY 6: A veteran of four Super Bowls, Joe Thuney is not expected to be in uniform for a fifth Sunday. The pectoral strain the Chiefs’ All-Pro left guard sustained against the Bills is likely to again force the AFC champions to make a substitution.
Andy Reid called Thuney, who picked up his first All-Pro nod this season, a longshot to play in Super Bowl LVIII. The Chiefs initially signed Thuney to help their O-line recover from the Buccaneers’ pass-rushing onslaught in Super Bowl LV; he entered the playoffs having missed only two games in three seasons with the Chiefs. The ex-Patriots draftee, however, appears set to give way to veteran backup Nick Allegretti once again.
Part of the Chiefs’ injury-reshaped offensive line the Bucs dominated three years ago, Allegretti returned to a starting role in the Chiefs’ AFC championship game win over the Ravens. Kansas City received strong play from its interior O-line this season, helping the team cover for less consistent work from tackles Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor. ESPN’s pass block win rate metric ranks Thuney first among all interior O-linemen, with center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith respectively slotted second and fourth.
Thuney, 31, served as a Patriots linchpin during the second leg of their dynasty. New England drafted Thuney in the 2016 third round and plugged him in as a starter immediately. That meant three straight Super Bowl starts. Thuney added a fourth Super Bowl appearance last year, playing alongside Humphrey and Smith in the Chiefs’ narrow win over the Eagles. Thuney landed as the first-team All-Pro left guard this season. Allegretti is a rather experienced backup, however, having played in 15 postseason games since joining the Chiefs as a seventh-round pick in 2019.
Although Jerick McKinnon returned to practice over the weekend, Reid appears pessimistic the passing-down back will be available Sunday. The 11th-year Chiefs HC said (via The Athletic’s Nate Taylor) McKinnon is not practicing and has a slim chance to play. A key part of the Chiefs’ offense over the past three years, McKinnon has not played since Week 15 due to a groin injury. The Chiefs still have until Saturday to activate McKinnon from IR. This would keep the door open to him playing against the 49ers.
Two other pieces are eligible to return as well. The team also designated Skyy Moore and O-lineman Prince Tega Wanogho for return from IR during the playoffs, but neither has been activated. Kansas City has until Wednesday to activate Moore; otherwise, the inconsistent wideout will revert to season-ending IR. The Chiefs still have five IR activations remaining, giving them the flexibility to move all three players in the IR-return window back onto their roster. Though, it remains to be seen if the team is willing to create the necessary roster space.