KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Laurent Duvernay-Tardif returned to the Chiefs' active roster on Tuesday, increasing the possibility the club may have its starting offensive line in place for the first time in more than three months for Sunday's AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Tuesday the 27-year-old lineman worked hard to return for the team's playoff run.
"It's a testament to his work ethic and I'm glad to have him back and knowing that he knows what's going on and he's a great player," Mahomes told Sports Radio 810 WHB's Kevin Kietzman.
The club cleared roster space for Duvernay-Tardif by releasing veteran safety Ron Parker.
Duvernay-Tardif went to injured reserve in October after suffering a Maisonneuve fracture of his left leg during the team's Week 5 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The injury involved a fracture of the fibula along with ligament damage in the ankle. The club returned Duvernay-Tardif to practice three weeks ago, with Tuesday the last day to restore him to the roster or leave him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
The Chiefs have used their two return from injured reserve designations, which means no other players on IR can return this season. The club use their first designation on safety Daniel Sorensen.
Duvernay-Tardif's injury started a rash of ailments on the team's offensive line that saw center Mitch Morse and left guard Cam Erving both miss playing time. Backup Jordan Devey also suffered a torn pectoral muscle that ended his season.
Among the starters, only left tackle Eric Fisher and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz have not missed any games due to injury.
Andrew Wylie started the team's last 11 games at right guard in place of Duvernay-Tardif. He filled in ably, winning the Mack Lee Hill Award presented each year to the team's best first-year player.
Parker's release marked the second time in less than a year the club parted ways with the veteran. The Chiefs released Parker in March in salary-cap savings move. Parker signed as a free agent with Atlanta, but the club released him at the end of the preseason.
The Chiefs jumped to re-sign Parker to stabilize a secondary decimated by injuries to Sorensen and Eric Berry. The club benched Parker during the Week 16 game at Seattle, the only regular-season game Parker did not play with the Chiefs during the past six seasons. Jordan Lucas has started the last two games at safety for the Chiefs alongside Sorensen.