Justin Reid preparing to be combination kicker and ‘heat-seeking missile’

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

A leader of Kansas City’s defense could be wearing two hats in 2024.

During last week’s media look at the Kansas City Chiefs’ organized team activities (OTAs), a major resulting storyline was which players were being used for the league’s new kickoff rule.

Chiefs assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Dave Toub spoke on the advantages of using starting safety Justin Reid to kickoff, noting the likely increase of kickers being required to make tackles with the new formation.

Reid addressed the possibility for himself following Friday’s media look at practice.

The elder statesman of Kansas City’s secondary did not realize it was a question whether or not he would find a role in this year’s kicking game.

“I think it was already understood without having to be said out loud,” he declared. “Every year, I try to kick. I just like to do it for fun. I petitioned Coach Toub the last two years to let me get some in the preseason…It was just a natural fit. He knew I would be excited about it, and we think we can turn it into a weapon this year.”

After learning of the new rule — which sees almost no movement permitted until a kickoff has been fielded or fallen in the landing zone — Reid began practicing long before OTAs started.

“I have a tee and some football that I had taken with me before we started OTAs,” he revealed. “I worked on it in just some grass fields making sure there was some good contact. OTAs has been mainly here, and I will take those same footballs with me in this next break and just continue to stay sharp with it.”

As the team’s starting safety, Reid already frequently plays every defensive snap most weeks. He sees taking on a special teams role as another way to help the team win. The defender also cited a very important recent example of the game’s third phase turning a game in favor of the Chiefs: a third-quarter fumble recovery by the Kansas City punt team in Super Bowl LVIII that set up the team’s first touchdown.

NFL: FEB 11 Super Bowl LVIII - Chiefs vs 49ers
Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Special teams plays a vital role in the game,” he reiterated. “The game is three phases: offense, defense, and special teams. In the Super Bowl, special teams was the difference between us winning and losing. We had that punt that we were able to capitalize on and get the ball back for our offense near their goal line and capitalize on that turnover. Special teams makes a humongous difference, and I’m willing to do anything to help us win.”

As he practices for a potential second role, Reid is also becoming aware of the new rule’s pitfalls, namely that an error kicking off could result in opposing possessions starting at the 30 or even 40-yard lines.

“Just have the ultimate confidence and comfort that the ball will be in play,” he said of his approach. “That it won’t be a penalty, and the other team will get it at the 40. As long as the ball is in play — and we have an extra guy running down there like a heat-seeking missile — good things are going to happen.”

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Title: Justin Reid preparing to be combination kicker and ‘heat-seeking missile’
Author: Jared Sapp

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