KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Lower leg injuries plagued strong safety Tyvon Branch’s final two seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
A broken leg in 2013 and foot injury in 2014 resulted in Branch appearing in a total of five regular-season games during that span.
While the past raises concern over durability, the new Chiefs safety wants to ensure everyone knows he is healthy and will be on the field.
“I’ll be ready for OTAs,” Branch emphatically said during a Friday conference call with Chiefs beat writers. “I’m ready now.”
Branch said he said he is confident his body can withstand the rigors of training camp and the workouts expected of football players.
The eighth-year pro said he trains every day and takes care of his body by doing yoga and getting massages.
Kansas City signed Branch to a one-year deal on Tuesday, a week after the Raiders released him. The signing also addressed a hole at the safety position with Ron Parker and Kurt Coleman currently unsigned as unrestricted free agents. Moreover, the status of Eric Berry, who is battling lymphoma, remains in the air.
The 6-0, 210-pound Branch originally entered the league in 2008 out of Connecticut as a fourth-round pick (100th overall) of Oakland, where he spent seven seasons.
He has appeared in 75 career games with 67 starts, totaling 461 tackles (355 solo), eight sacks, four interceptions, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 12 quarterback pressures. Prior to the injury-riddled seasons of 2013 and 2014, he appeared in 57 consecutive games from 2009-12.
Branch drew interest around the league following his release in Oakland before choosing to sign with the Chiefs. And the 28-year-old safety said the opportunity to play against his former team twice in a season didn’t play a role in his decision.
“That really wasn’t a selling point for me,” Branch said. “I’m attracted for the opportunity, obviously, to play against them because of the way things shook out, but I was more excited about playing in this defense. There’s a lot of great guys on that side of the ball, and I’m excited to play in a defense that flies around like that.”
Branch said his skill set fits the aggressive nature of defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s scheme. He adds having outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali rushing the passer isn’t a bad thing for the back end of coverage.
“That’s like a DB’s dream to have two guys like that rushing the quarterback,” Branch said.
The one-year contract carries minimum risk for the Chiefs, but more importantly it allows Branch to show he can return to form as a defensive playmaker.
He relishes the chance to do exactly that.
“I’m just excited to be a part of it however I can help,” Branch said. “If I can boost whatever it is, I’m with it. I’m just excited for this opportunity.”