The Kansas City Chiefs could be without three key players when they play the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney appeared to get into a dispute with Chiefs management about a hip injury that sidelined him for six games.
He went on Instagram to say he didn’t receive the proper injury designation for the AFC championship game at Baltimore on Jan. 28. On Monday, he clarified to NFL Network that his profanity-laden outburst was directed at a New York Giants fan, not the Chiefs, and admitted it was a mistake.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid refrained from confirming on Tuesday whether Toney would play, leaving open the possibility of him being a healthy scratch. Reid commented, “We’ll see how that goes. He’s been practicing, and we’ll see whether he’s up or not.”
Additionally, Reid expressed doubts about the availability of running back Jerick McKinnon or guard Joe Thuney. Reid mentioned, “It’s slim for him to be out there,” referring to McKinnon, who has been on injured reserve since Dec. 24 with a groin injury and hasn’t practiced.
Regarding Thuney, who didn’t play against the Ravens due to a pectoral injury, Reid said, “It’s strength and making sure that he’s in a position that he doesn’t get hurt worse than what he’s got. We’ll see (whether Thuney practices). I think it’s a long shot.”
49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks criticized his unit last week for not maintaining consistent effort during their 34-31 victory over the Detroit Lions in the NFC championship game.
Safety Tashaun Gipson concurred, stating, “That’s something that never needs to be coached. That’s something that never needs to be addressed. This is the National Football League. You’re here on the biggest stage. Those plays are unacceptable and led to two touchdowns.”
“That film session was tough. Obviously, we had to watch it and hear some strong words. But that’s not our style of football. We’re a much better team than that, so I’m not concerned about it moving forward,” said Gipson.
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged the lack of effort as an issue but also highlighted other challenges the Niners faced in attempting to contain Detroit’s running game in the first half.
“When you play an eight-man front, it just takes one guy out of the gap for there to be only one (defender) left,” Shanahan said. “That’s stuff we’ve got to do a lot better at.”
Chiefs owner Clark Hunt shared an interesting encounter he had about a week ago during a function. A woman in her mid-20s approached him and explained that she was never a football fan, but as a devoted Taylor Swift fan, she now follows the Chiefs because of Swift’s relationship with tight end Travis Kelce.
This has led to a noticeable growth in the team’s fan base among young female fans, driving up TV ratings, merchandise sales, and overall interest in the team.
You Might Also Like: