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Kansas City Chiefs-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game to remain in Tampa after Hurricane Ian

Sunday night’s match between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will continue to be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa as initially scheduled, the NFL announced Thursday.

The NFL had selected U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as a contingency site for the game after the Bucs had evacuated the area because of Hurricane Ian.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the many thousands in the Southwest Florida region who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Ian,” the Bucs said in a statement Thursday. “We are also very thankful that the Tampa Bay area was spared the most damaging consequences of this powerful storm.

“We have informed the NFL, after consulting with local and state agencies, that we are ready to play Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium as originally scheduled.”

The Bucs also voiced gratitude to first responders and emergency personnel “who are already battling the elements, saving lives, and helping our neighbors in those most impacted areas to our south.” Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady hopes the game can help bring people together for “a common good.”

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“I always feel like sports has brought people together over a long period of time,” Brady stated. And watching different adversities — whether that was 9/11, whether that was [Hurricane] Katrina — sports has an amazing way of kind healing wounds and bringing people together and bringing communities together in something to cheer for and a common interest and a common good. So I think anytime you can participate in things like that, it’s a great feeling.

“… After what so many people have gone through in the state, it’s great to go out there and give them something to cheer about.”

Tampa mayor Jane Castor took to Twitter on Thursday to quip that she has “assured the @NFL that the only disturbance here Sunday is when the Bucs kick ass.”

The Buccaneers relocated their players, coaches and some of their families to the South Florida area and have been practicing at the Miami Dolphins’ facility.

Wide receiver Mike Evans stated he hoped the Bucs could be a “bright spot” after everything the region has gone through this week.

“I definitely wanted to be at the home,” Evans said Thursday. “I’m happy I get to go out there and entertain and it’s a blessing and I don’t take it for granted. I know we’re going through a tough time right now, so hopefully we can be a bright spot during this time.”

The Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers, will donate $1 million to assist relief efforts, it was announced. The team said the money will be given to “organizations that are providing support to those who have been most impacted by the storm in Southwest Florida and throughout the state.”

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Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen ruled out

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker will not play in Thursday night’s game versus the Los Angeles Chargers due to an ankle injury.

The Chargers, meanwhile, will be without starting wide receiver Keenan Allen, who suffered a hamstring injury in Los Angeles’ Week 1 triumph over the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Chiefs listed Butker as out — as did the Chargers with Allen and tight end Donald Parham Jr. (hamstring) — for the game on their final injury report of the week.

The Chiefs this week signed former New York Jets kicker Matt Ammendola to their practice squad, and he could be elevated to their active roster in time for Thursday night’s game.

Ammedola, who kicked for the Chiefs during their only practice session of the week on Tuesday, made 13 of 19 field goals for the Jets last season.

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Butker injured his left ankle on a kickoff during Sunday’s win versus the Cardinals in Arizona. Coach Andy Reid blamed the injuries to Butker and cornerback Trent McDuffie on what he said was loose turf on the recently re-sodded field in Arizona.

McDuffie was placed on injured reserve this because of a hamstring injury.

After his injury, Butker made three PATs and a 54-yard field goal. Safety Justin Reid handled kickoffs and went 1-of-2 on PATs.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley had stated Tuesday that it wasn’t “looking great” that Allen, who has been selected to five Pro Bowls in his career, would be able to play on Thursday night. Allen had four catches for 66 yards before departing in the first half on Sunday because of his injury.

With Allen out, expect receivers Joshua Palmer, DeAndre Carter and Jalen Guyton to see increased opportunity.

Also, Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson was limited Wednesday and is officially questionable. He has a “50-50” chance of playing, Staley said earlier this week.

“He’s improving,” Staley said Tuesday. “He’s headed in the right direction, but I think there is still a lot to be decided before game time on Thursday night.” Jackson underwent ankle surgery on Aug. 23 and was given a two-to-four week timetable to return. He was inactive versus the Raiders.

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Four-time All-Pro OT Mitchell Schwartz retires from NFL

Offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, a four-time All-Pro selection, announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday after nine seasons.

Schwartz, 33, didn’t play last season after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs last March. He had surgery last February for a back injury that prematurely ended his season in 2020 and snapped a streak of 134 consecutive starts.

In his statement posted to social media on Thursday, Schwartz wrote that he has been doing rehab ever since that surgery.

“I’m currently feeling as good as I have since then, but it’s clear my body won’t ever be the same. The nerve pain down my legs is no longer a daily occurrence, but it might never fully go away,” he said in the statement.

Schwartz spent his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, who picked him in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Cal. He signed with the Chiefs in 2016 as a free agent and was an All-Pro each season from 2016 through 2019, including being selected to the first team in 2018.

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He had a streak of 7,894 repeated offensive snaps to start his career before briefly being knocked out of a midseason game in 2019.

He didn’t miss a game that season, however, and also started each of the Chiefs’ three postseason games, including their 31-20 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV to earn his first championship ring.

“Winning the Super Bowl was the pinnacle of my career,” he said. “I’ve met so many great people and forged relationships that will last a lifetime. Football was a big part of my life and always will be. I love the game and have a passion for sharing my knowledge. But I never defined myself as a football player.”

Indeed, the affable offensive lineman has built a massive following as much for his cooking demonstrations as his often-searing critique of the NFL. “Mitch in the Kitch” videos are posted on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and his own blog.

“I’ve enjoyed so much my time in the NFL and walk away feeling fulfilled,” said Schwartz, whose brother, Geoff, played six NFL seasons. “I have other interests that I’ll have more time to explore: food/cooking and my ‘Mitch in the Kitch’ series, travel, golf, horology. But most importantly, I’ll have more time with my wife, Brooke, and our two little dogs.”

He ended his statement by thanking the city of Kansas City and Chiefs fans.

“My last thank you is to Kansas City, and all the Chiefs fans. Being a Chief is so much more than putting on a red jersey. It has been a privilege to represent you on and off the field,” he said in the statement.

“The bond I’ve formed with this city and the people here lasts forever and is a big reason why Brooke and I are staying in KC long term.

“There was no better indication of the magnitude of Chiefs Kingdom than the parade. Seeing that Sea of Red was amazing and put into perspective just how many people cheer us on, knowing there were many more that couldn’t attend. This city and its support is hard to describe until you’ve felt it personally. I am forever a Chief and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

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Miami Dolphins reach deal with Melvin Ingram to bolster pass rush

The Dolphins and defensive end Melvin Ingram have agreed to a contract, adding quality depth to a pass rush that ranked as one of the NFL’s most aggressive last campaign.

Ingram agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Earlier this month, the Kansas City Chiefs had placed the unrestricted free agent tender on Ingram, meaning his signing with the Dolphins will count against the NFL’s compensatory-pick formula.

If Ingram had gone unsigned by July 22, the Chiefs would have retained exclusive negotiating rights to him at 110% of his 2021 salary, which would have been $4.4 million.

The three-time Pro Bowler visited the Dolphins before the draft in April. He joins Miami pass-rushers Emmanuel Ogbah, Jaelan Phillips and Andrew Van Ginkel on a rotation that blitzed on 38% of opponents’ dropbacks in 2021 — the second-highest rate in the league. The Dolphins’ sack rate of 7.3% was ranked seventh in the league last season.

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While the majority of the Dolphins’ major additions this offseason have come on the offensive side of the ball, Ingram represents their biggest defensive addition to date.

Miami re-signed most of its defensive free agents, including Ogbah and linebackers Elandon Roberts, Brennan Scarlett and Duke Riley. It spent fourth- and seventh-round picks on linebackers Channing Tindall and Cameron Goode, respectively.

NFL journalist Jordan Schultz was first to report Ingram’s agreement with the Dolphins.

Ingram, 33, joined the Chiefs last campaign after being dealt by the Pittsburgh Steelers shortly before the trade deadline.

After posting one sack in six matches with the Steelers, Ingram added three more in 12 games with the Chiefs.

In one of the biggest defensive plays of the season for the Chiefs, Ingram forced Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon to fumble, which was returned by linebacker Nick Bolton for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of a 28-24 win in the regular-season finale.

Ingram was drafted by the Chargers in 2012, and in his nine seasons there, he had 49 sacks, including a career-high 10.5 in 2015 and 2017. He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl following the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons.

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Kansas City Chiefs not in ‘rebuilding mode’ despite losing key players, GM says

The Kansas City Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill and opted not to re-sign Tyrann Mathieu. They have some seemingly obvious holes on their roster just a few days before the 2022 NFL draft.

General manager Brett Veach still resisted the idea the Chiefs are in any kind of rebuilding effort.

“When you have Pat Mahomes, we’ll be wired to go after it every year,” Veach said. “Even though you may make moves and you may trade really good players, it doesn’t mean [there won’t] be another counterpunch and that we [won’t] try to be aggressive in another way. You just have to be smart and flexible in what you do. What’s needed to do that is draft resources and cap space.

“Just because you trade away a great player doesn’t mean we’re in a rebuilding mode by any means. It just means we’re going to find a new set of resources and we’re going to try to be aggressive.”

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The Chiefs after losing Hill, Mathieu and starting cornerback Charvarius Ward look to need help at wide receiver and in the secondary. They also need edge rushers to improve a pass rush that was 29th in the league last season in sacks.

The Chiefs did sign wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and safety Justin Reid. But after losing Hill and two of last season’s other top receivers, and being without Mathieu, Ward and one of last season’s top defensive backs in terms of playing time in Daniel Sorensen, the Chiefs could still use help.

They have a league-high 12 draft picks, counting two in each of the first four rounds.

As for replacing Hill, Veach stated, “On one end, it’s very hard to replicate a talent like Tyreek Hill. But I also think there’s a mindset or idea forgetting how good a coach Andy Reid is. He’s won with all types of quarterback and all different types of offensive schemes.

“Our staff is very dynamic and, look, we had Tyreek Hill and we were able to implement a lot of RPO stuff and a lot of vertical attack stuff, but it doesn’t mean when you have a talent like Pat Mahomes and a Hall of Fame coach like Andy that you can’t rewire and retweak your offense and how you do things. There are multiple ways we scored points over the years.

“Would you like to find someone like Tyreek? Yeah, but I think every team would. If you don’t, there are many ways to win games. Our offense is I think extremely flexible, a lot more flexible than what people think. For us and what we do, we’re going to go out there and collect good players.

They might not be 4.2 guys but if they’re good football players, we’re going to put them into position to make plays and win a lot of games.”

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Miami Dolphins acquire Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill for five draft picks

The Kansas City Chiefs traded six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins for five draft picks: a 2022 first-round pick (No. 29), second-round pick (No. 50) and fourth-round pick, plus fourth- and sixth-round picks in the 2023 draft on Wednesday.

The trade is pending a physical, the Dolphins stated.

The Dolphins also are giving Hill a four-year, $120 million extension, including $72.2 million guaranteed and also including $52.535 million at signing, agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN.

The deal makes Hill the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history. The $72.2 million total becomes fully guaranteed at the start of the 2023 league year. The three-year total of the deal is $72.5 million.

For Hill, who was already under contract for the 2022 season, the overall total value of the deal — including the $120 million in new money — is $141.685 million.

It also includes $250,000 in Pro Bowl incentives each campaign.

Both the New York Jets and the Dolphins had trades in place for Hill, according to sources. The question became where Hill wanted to become the wide receiver with a record-breaking deal.

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The Jets’ trade offer to the Chiefs for Hill — which Kansas City would have accepted if the wide receiver had opted for New York — did not include a first-round pick but rather multiple picks that were commensurate to the Dolphins’ offer based on the draft value chart that teams use, sources told ESPN. The Chiefs would have gotten picks No. 35, 38 and 69 while the Jets would have gotten Hill and pick No. 103.

Davante Adams was the highest-paid wide receiver for a week after he signed a five-year contract with the Las Vegas Raiders that averages $28 million per season and includes $65.67 million fully guaranteed.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Hill wrote: “Today starts a new beginning. I’m very excited to be joining the Miami Dolphins and get to work, however it’s hard thinking about the memories, people and fans that made my time in Kansas City so great.”

He also thanked those who joined him in giving back to the community in Kansas City through his foundation and thanked the Chiefs “for believing in me.”

“I worked hard every day to show my appreciation for you taking a chance on me. To Coach (Andy Reid), Coach (Eric) Bieniemy and Coach (Greg) Lewis, thank you for what you have taught me not only about football but about life,” he wrote.

Lastly, he thanked his now former Chiefs teammates and the fans, ending his message by writing, “Kansas City will always hold a special place in my heart!”

The Dolphins’ odds at Caesars Sportsbook to win the Super Bowl improved from 70-1 to 40-1 with the trade. Their odds to win the AFC improved from 35-1 to 20-1 and the AFC East from +675 to +400.

It’s the second major move made this week by the Dolphins to boost their offense that will be installed by new head coach Mike McDaniel.

On Tuesday, the Dolphins agreed on a five-year deal with left tackle Terron Armstead that is worth up to $87.5 million, a source told ESPN, locking up the services of one of the top free agents of the 2022 cycle. That deal includes $43.37 million in guaranteed money, the source said.

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Eric Bieniemy returning as Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator for 2022 season

Eric Bieniemy is returning to the Kansas City Chiefs as offensive coordinator for the 2022 season, a source confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.

The news was first reported by NFL Network, which also reported he will be returning on a one-year deal.

Bieniemy’s contract expired after last season, and he and head coach Andy Reid recently met to discuss his future with the team. Bieniemy also worked on an expiring contract in 2020.

He had contemplated coaching in college, listening to other offers or even taking off a year after a physically and mentally draining season in which the Chiefs fell one game short of the Super Bowl and Bieniemy was again bypassed in the head-coach hiring cycle, ESPN’s Adam Schefter had reported.

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The Chiefs still have to fill their quarterbacks coach job after Mike Kafka left to become the New York Giants’ offensive coordinator.

Bieniemy has been on the Kansas City staff since 2013 and has spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator. His tenure as coordinator has coincided with Patrick Mahomes’ four-year stretch as Kansas City’s starting quarterback, and the Chiefs’ offense has ranked no worse than sixth in the NFL each season under Bieniemy.

Bieniemy, 52, has been a candidate for multiple head-coaching jobs in recent seasons and had interviewed for the Denver Broncos’ and New Orleans Saints’ positions this year.

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores included a section on Bieniemy’s inability to land a head-coaching job despite his success as an NFL assistant in his lawsuit versus the NFL and three teams (the Broncos, Giants and Dolphins) that alleges racial discrimination in the league’s hiring practices.

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Kansas City Chiefs release linebacker Anthony Hitchens

The Kansas City Chiefs have released linebacker Anthony Hitchens, it was revealed Tuesday.

Hitchens had 80 tackles and an interception in 15 matches last season. Hitchens, 29, joined the Chiefs as a free agent in 2018, and he registered a career-best 135 tackles that season.

In four seasons with the Chiefs, Hitchens played in 70 games in the regular season and playoffs with two sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.

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The Chiefs will save about $8.4 million against their salary cap in 2022.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to coach Anthony over the last four years,” coach Andy Reid said in a statement. “He’s as tough as they come in this league and is a team-first player. I appreciate the way he came to work, ready to do his part, but also his willingness to teach the younger guys around him.”

The Chiefs drafted one linebacker, Willie Gay, in the second round in 2020 and another, Nick Bolton, in the second round last year.

Before joining the Chiefs, Hitchens played four seasons for the Dallas Cowboys. In 63 regular-season and playoff games for the Cowboys, Hitchens had 3.5 sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.

“He has all the intangibles and was an integral piece in our franchise winning a Super Bowl title,” general manager Brett Veach said in a statement.

“We appreciate everything he’s done for the organization and wish him the best as he continues his career.”

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Kelce’s OT touchdown gives Chiefs 34-28 win over Chargers

Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have faced their share of challenges this campaign. The two-time defending AFC champions are peaking at the right time for another playoff push.

Kelce had a career-high 191 receiving yards and scored on a 34-yard pass from Mahomes in overtime as the Chiefs rallied for a 34-28 triumph over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night.

Kelce caught a tying 7-yard touchdown pass with 1:16 left in the fourth quarter, then ended the game with his catch-and-run in overtime. On first-and-10, Kelce pulled in Mahomes’ pass at the 30 and eluded two tackles en route to the end zone, where he was swarmed by teammates.

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“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a walk-off touchdown or anything like that, so to be in that moment, find him underneath and him making such a dynamic play where, I mean, he cut back, ran by people,” stated Mahomes, who completed 31 of 47 for a season-high 410 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. “You think he’s old. He can’t run by people. But he’s still running by people. And he got in the end zone.”

The Chiefs were 3-4 at the end of October but have won seven consecutive to improve to 10-4 and go up by two games in the AFC West.

Kelce had been held to six total receptions the past two games, but he broke out in a big way.

He had five of his 10 catches for 142 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime. He also had a 69-yard reception that led to Tyreek Hill’s 1-yard touchdown and a 2-point conversion that tied it at 21.

Mahomes bounced back after a costly fourth-quarter interception led to Austin Ekeler’s touchdown and gave the Chargers a 21-13 advantage. He was 10 of 16 for 197 yards and three TDs after the turnover.

“Obviously it (stinks) in the moment. I mean, I promise you I felt as bad as anyone about that throw and that situation, and knew how bad it looked. But you will get another chance and you better be ready for that moment,” Mahomes said.

Justin Herbert gave the Chargers a 28-21 lead with 2:19 left on a 8-yard TD pass to Keenan Allen, but couldn’t make it hold up. It is the second straight season the Chiefs have come to the Chargers’ Hollywood Park home and won in overtime.

“The goal is always to score. We needed to put up points, and we got in the end zone, and that was our mission,” Herbert said. “We would have loved to have been able to run the clock down and not have any time, but this is the NFL, and you have to get in the end zone.”

The Chargers fell behind 10-0 early in the second quarter before scoring on two straight drives to take a 14-10 lead at halftime. Herbert scored on a 1-yard keeper off left end and then connected with Jalen Guyton for a 4-yard TD on the next drive.

The Chiefs benefited off Chargers’ mistakes for their first 10 points. After Los Angeles turned it over on downs, Kansas City went 95 yards in 11 plays, culminating in Michael Burton’s 7-yard run up the middle.

The Chiefs then turned Anthony Hitchens’ interception of Herbert into points on Harrison Butker’s 30-yard field goal.

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New York Jets acquire right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in trade with Kansas City Chiefs

The New York Jets bolstered their offensive line depth at the trade deadline, getting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif from the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs received backup tight end and special-teamer Daniel Brown in the deal. Both players will be free agents after the season.

Duvernay-Tardif, 30, started for the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV after the 2019 season, but hasn’t played a match since that Super Bowl. He was active for the first time this season Monday night versus the New York Giants, but saw no action.

Once he gets settled, Duvernay-Tardif could push starting right guard Greg Van Roten, who has struggled at times. “It’s an opportunity to add a Super Bowl champion to the room,” Jets general manager Joe Douglas said.

“You guys know how I feel about offensive and defensive linemen. If there’s an opportunity to improve those rooms, we’re going to do it. LDT brings that championship pedigree. A high-character person. Obviously, he’s a very smart guy. I can’t wait to get him in here and see him compete.”

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A medical school graduate, Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out last season due to COVID-19 reasons.

He opted to continue working at a long-term care facility near his home in Montreal, Quebec.

He returned to the Chiefs this summer for training camp, but injured a hand and missed the preseason. By the time he was healthy, he had been replaced in the lineup by rookie Trey Smith. He was a healthy scratch for the first seven matches.

“NYC here we come!” Tardif tweeted, along with a statement thanking the Chiefs organization and fans.

The Jets have been hurt by injuries on the offensive line. In training camp, they lost backup guard Alex Lewis, who decided to retire.

Brown was a core special-teamer for the Jets, but he didn’t play much on offense — only 13 snaps and no receptions.

After weeks of speculation, the Jets didn’t trade safety Marcus Maye or wide receiver Jamison Crowder, both on expiring contracts. Douglas was noncommittal on whether he wants to re-sign Maye after the season, a departure from his previous stance. Last spring, he called Maye a priority. They wound up giving him the franchise tag.

Douglas stated “there’s a lot of meat left on the bone” with regard to the season, meaning he has 10 games before making a decision on Maye’s future.

He said the organization supports Maye, who faces DUI charges from a February arrest. Douglas called it a “mistake,” adding, “We don’t condone the action, but we support the man.”

He also said he wasn’t bothered that Maye hid the arrest from the organization, and the NFL, for seven months. It didn’t come to light until it was reported by the media.

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