The Kansas City Chiefs linebacker room was a strength entering the 2023 season, both in terms of top-end talent and overall depth. Now, ahead of Week 8 and a high-octane matchup against the Miami Dolphins in Germany, their depth has been tested by injury. Just an hour after the NFL’s trade deadline, KC has brought a familiar name back to Arrowhead.
The Chiefs have signed linebacker Darius Harris to the active roster, poaching him from the Las Vegas Raiders’ practice squad, according to Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest. The Chiefs also released linebacker Isaiah Moore from the practice squad with an injury designation, per Derrick’s report.
Harris never played for the Raiders, just one year after playing 291 defensive snaps with the Chiefs. He finished 2022 with 43 tackles, three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks for the Chiefs. Harris also played special teams with Kansas City in 2022 and can step into a number of potential roles on defense, which will likely be needed after injuries struck KC’s LB room.
This move follows two major injuries to two of the Chiefs’ top three linebackers. Starting middle linebacker Nick Bolton is on injured reserve after having wrist surgery and is reportedly expected to return in December. Fellow starter Willie Gay Jr. left the Chiefs’ loss to the Broncos with a tailbone injury on Sunday. After the game, head coach Andy Reid didn’t have much to add regarding the seriousness of the injury.
“Willie has a tailbone issue we’ve just got to check it out and see if he’s alright or not,” Reid said.
Drue Tranquill also briefly left the game with an injury on Sunday but returned after missing just one snap.
Before signing Harris, the Chiefs’ linebackers without injury concerns would have been second-year linebacker Jack Cochrane and rookie Cam Jones. Cochrane and Jones have been steady special teams players for the Chiefs this season, but have only seen the field on defense in very small doses.
With Harris, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo gets a replacement-level player who should still be familiar with his defense as the Chiefs prepare for a major test against the Dolphins on Sunday.