Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker is dealing with an ankle injury from the team’s season opener. He returned to the game later on, but the injury may be more serious than initially thought as Kansas City opted to add former Jets kicker Matt Ammendola to their practice squad tonight, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Butker slipped on the kickoff following the Kansas City’s opening scoring drive yesterday and limped off the field with a hurt ankle. The Chiefs trotted out safety Justin Reid for the next two extra point attempts, which he split one for two. After Reid’s missed extra point attempt, the Chiefs brought Butker back for field goals and extra points, but kept Reid as the kickoff specialist.
Seeing Butker’s return inspired hope that his injury was not too serious, but today’s signing hints that there might be reason to worry. Ammendola was the winner of what was a kicking contest between several free agents today, according to another tweet from Pelissero. He beat out Elliott Fry, Chase McLaughlin, Cody Parkey, Tristan Vizcaino, and rookie Cameron Dicker.
Ammendola went undrafted two years ago out of Oklahoma State. He eventually spent a few months in the offseason leading up to the 2021 season with the Panthers before signing with the Jets. He made his NFL debut in New York, playing in 11 games. Ammendola was perfect from within 40 yards, going 11 for 11, but struggled from a distance going two for eight on kicks longer than 40 yards, including missing all three kicks from over 50 yards. He was mostly reliable on extra points, though, converting 14 of his 15 attempts. He also served double-duty doing kickoffs and punts for the Jets.
It’s not a foregone conclusion that Ammendola is kicking for the Chiefs this week, but placing him on the practice squad allows the Chiefs to call him up on a day’s notice if Butker is not feeling 100-percent leading up to the team’s Thursday night matchup against the Chargers.