The Chiefs suffered their first significant injury loss of the preseason at Pittsburgh Saturday night with wide receiver Marcus Kemp suffering a suspected ACL tear, a source tells Chiefs Digest.
Kemp will have an MRI on Sunday to confirm the diagnosis. He injured his knee on a 27-yard completion from quarterback Chad Henne in the second quarter. The third-year receiver went down to the ground hard on a tackle from Steelers safety Seth Davis.
Head coach Andy Reid didn't confirm the severity of Kemp's injury after the game, but he did say it appears the most significant of the team's injuries.
"He's been playing so well," Reid told reporters after the game. "It's too bad, I feel bad for him. He's a great kid, tough kid, all that. They've taken these hits away from the upper body so the defensive backs are going into legs, and you're going to come up with things like this, by rule."
Three other Chiefs left the game with injuries Saturday night. Tyrann Mathieu exited with a shoulder injury, but the team does not consider it serious. Defensive linemen Breeland Speaks (knee) and tight end Deon Yelder (ankle) also left the game with injuries and listed as questionable to return.
Kemp emerged as a key special teams player for the Chiefs last season. He picked up six total special teams tackles and emerged as the team's top gunner on special teams. He made a spectacular play on a punt against Seattle in Week 15, leaping into the end zone to bat the ball back into the field of play and pin the Seahawks inside the 10-yard line.
He appeared well on his way to securing a roster spot this season with an expanded role on offense. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said on Thursday that Kemp showed a much stronger grasp of the offense during training camp.
“Marcus Kemp has always been great about going out there and making plays, he contested catches you’ve always seen but now that he understands the offense more and more, he can really get himself open and do things he hasn’t been able to do in the past,” Mahomes said.
Special teams coordinator Dave Toub agreed. He called a Kemp a high-level special teams player who showed potential for a larger role on offense.
“I think where he's really stepped up now is on offense,” Toub said, “He's starting to make a lot more plays on offense, and that's a good thing, because then the offensive coaches feel comfortable about him, and he's in a good place. They feel comfortable, I feel comfortable, he's doing well.”