With the Kansas City Chiefs backfield heading into their wild card match against the Pittsburgh Steelers, they’re bringing back a familiar face to bolster the running back room.
The Chiefs added running back Darwin Thompson to their practice team on Friday, Jan. 15, according to the NFL’s Transaction Report.
Thompson took to Twitter Friday night to announce his reunion with Kansas City.
“What a vacation. I’m baKC,” he wrote.
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Thompson was the Chiefs’ sixth-round draft pick in 2019. He spent the last two seasons in Kansas City as well as the 2021 preseason. According to Pro Football Reference, he cumulatively rushed for 333 yards (225 rushing, 108 received) in his first two seasons in the NFL. In three games last preseason, Thompson had 15 rushes for 72 yards and also collected six passes for 25 yards.
However, due to the addition of Jerick McKinnon last offseason and the rise of Derrick Gore and Darrel Williams, the Chiefs didn’t have a place for Thompson in the 2021-22 regular season roster.
Thompson was released by Kansas City when the team reduced its roster to 53 players early in the regular season. Although he was offered a spot on the Chiefs’ practice team in early September, he chose to join the Tampa Bay practice team instead, as originally reported by the Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell.
Thompson, 24, spent the entire regular season with the Buccaneers as insurance policy for Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard. However, the addition of veteran Le’Veon Bell in December and the need for a vacancy for Brown meant Thompson’s services on the practice team were no longer needed.
Sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire injured his shoulder during the Chiefs’ Week 16 win over Pittsburgh and missed the final two games of the regular season as a result. Darrel Williams injured his toe in the Chiefs’ win over the Denver Broncos in the regular-season finals, forcing him to sit the entire second half of the game.
Both players were on the field at Kansas City’s first practice session ahead of the Chiefs-Steelers playoff game. However, Edwards-Helaire and Williams were limited in their first session of the week on Wednesday, January 12, according to the team’s injury report.
Although Edwards-Helaire returned to the practice field on Wednesday, she did not attend the team’s practices on Thursday and Friday. Head coach Andy Reid then announced Friday that CEH would miss the team’s first playoff game. Williams will be active but his toe probably still bothers him.
Although the Chiefs also have McKinnon and Gore as options in the backfield, the team currently has no running backs on its practice squad. Adding Thompson solves this problem. It also puts Thompson in line for a potential promotion to the 53-man gameday roster, whether for the Chiefs-Steelers game or other playoff games if CEH is still not healthy enough to play, and of course, if Kansas City is moving forward in the postseason.
The Chiefs take on the Steelers in Sunday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, January 16.