Chiefs Plan To Have S Justin Reid Handle Kickoffs

The NFL’s new kickoff rules are expected to bring about an uptick in the rate of returns and many teams may prioritize size and tackling on kick coverage teams compared to years past. In the case of the Chiefs, that may very well include Justin Reid handling kickoff duties.

The veteran safety said during an appearance on Chris Long’s Green Light Podcast that Kansas City plans on using him (rather than kicker Harrison Butker) on kickoffs. With more returns set to take place in 2024, adding a defender to the coverage team would provide an upgrade in terms of tackling compared to kickers. That is the thought process behind this projected move.

“The advantage for us is that if I’m doing the job – which is what we’re planning on doing – then I can fill that last gap, so it makes it a little bit easier and nobody needs to win two gaps,” Reid explained. The 27-year-old has previously filled in for Butker as an emergency kicker handling field goal and extra point duties as well as kickoffs.

“We’re in a great place with it,” head coach Andy Reid added. “Although I know [Butker] can make some tackles, I think he’s excited to preserve himself, and we can use him where we really need him, which is those fourth-quarter situations to go nail a 60-yard field goal and win the game. It would be devastating to try and trot a guy out there who’s still nicked up from trying to make a tackle in the second quarter.”

Plenty is unknown regarding how the new, XFL-style kickoff alignment will shake out and the manner in which teams will react to it. If the Chiefs do manage to find success by replacing Butker with Reid, though, it will be interesting to see how many teams mimic their approach. Of course, the chance of injury is present for the latter, an important member of Kansas City’s defense.

Reid signed a three-year, $31.5MM deal with the Chiefs in 2022. The former Texan has served as a full-time defensive starter since then, racking up 178 tackles and 14 pass deflections along the way while helping the team win consecutive Super Bowls. An injury suffered on special teams would leave Kansas City without a key member of the secondary, but the team is prepared to at least begin the campaign by accepting that risk.

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