KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)The Chiefs will be without starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland for the first four games of the season because of off-the-field issues earlier this year, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The person confirmed the league intends to suspend Breeland on the condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made. The news, which was first reported by ESPN.com, has long been assumed after Breeland was arrested in April on multiple charges that included resisting arrest, marijuana possession and driving without a license.
The suspension leaves the Chiefs with even more depth concerns at cornerback, where they lost Kendall Fuller in free agency and elected not to re-sign veteran Morris Claiborne. They still have their other starter, Charvarius Ward, but the depth behind him includes Rashad Fenton, special teams ace Antonio Hamilton and a couple of rookies.
”As far as the young corners, we’ll see. Time will tell,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday, after the team resumed training camp following a day off. ”We’ve got a good nucleus of guys and it’ll all sort out here the next couple of weeks.”
The Chiefs did get some positive news in the defensive backfield with the return of one of the rookies, Bopete Keyes, who was out with a broken orbital bone. They also got free safety Juan Thornhill onto the field to do some light work for the first time since he tore his ACL just as the Chiefs were making a push toward the Super Bowl.
Reid said that Thornhill, who was emerging as a legitimate star, and running mate Tyrann Mathieu give the Chiefs plenty of help in coverage – even though neither is necessarily a cornerback.
”We’re using Tyrann a couple different spots but he could easily play corner. He has that kind of coverage ability,” Reid said. ”When a guy comes in to play that position outside, he knows exactly what that guy has to do to work in that spot, and he is able to communicate with him and he does that quite a bit. He knows what’s going on.”
That experience is vital now more than ever. The Chiefs could be forced to use Keyes and fellow rookie L’Jarius Sneed in the opener Sept. 10 against Houston, even though neither will have played an NFL game. The coronavirus pandemic forced the league to scrap preseason games, leaving the work that first-year players get limited only to the practice field.
”There are some spots, some pieces, where we have to put this all together,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. ”There’s nothing in our brains that says we’re not going to go through some growing pains. That happens, especially with no preseason games, no going against opponents. It’s going to be a challenge. I think it’s going to be a challenge for all the defenses across the league. We’ll piece it together the best we can.”
Notes: DE Frank Clark remained out of practice with a stomach virus. ”We’re working with him on that,” Reid said. … DT Chris Jones (groin strain), WR Byron Pringle (knee), LT Eric Fisher (concussion), WR Sammy Watkins (groin strain) and Hamilton (groin strain) also missed the workout. … The Chiefs re-signed WR Marcus Kemp, who tore an ACL in the preseason last year and finished the season on injured reserve. He was at practice Wednesday.
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