Chiefs Juan Thornhill wants to fill the vacancy left by Tyrann Mathieu

It was the main story Kansas City Chiefs signed Justin Reid far away Houston Texans when the free agency decided to move forward with the security of the All-Pro trio Tyrann Mathieu.

It was a sudden replacement, nice and tidy.

The reality is that Mathieu’s replacement could already be on the team like Juan Thornhill, who has been in the starting line-up for the first three seasons of the league. Leaving Mathieu and Dan Sorensen free agency, Thornhill is the only safety on the roster with extensive experience defending coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Thornhill has a more versatile set of skills than Reid, which is the toughest safety essential, with a unique ability not to fall into the cover, but also a quarterback blitz and a run against the box.

“I love being a bunch of beginners to being the oldest boy in the class,” said 26-year-old Thornhill after a stifling three-day mandatory camp in Kansas City. “I have to take the path, take that mission.”

He had a great role model in Mathieu, arriving in Kansas City at the same time as Thornhill was re-elected.

For the past three years, Thornhill has had the best possible seat on the Mathieu field not only for his profession, but also for his ability to show off-field leadership. Mathieu was the head of the defense, putting the players in the right position on defense and gathering them at home during rest days.

Mathieu, who has experience with two torn ACLs, also helped Thornhilli deal with a devastating knee injury, ended his debut season, and for a time sidelined what had been a promising start to his career.

“I was silent when he was here, because I knew he was the guy to be the leader, and I would follow in his footsteps,” Thornhill said. “Now is my time to take on that role and align everyone.”

That includes Bryan Cook, Cincinnati’s second-round pick, who could be a crucial piece of defense.

“It’s definitely a role I want to take on,” Thornhill said. “I want guys to have fun. Sometimes playing this game can feel a lot of pressure on you, but we don’t want that pressure. We want to go there and have a lot of fun and enjoy the game. That’s when you play a lot, when you’re comfortable and connected. on the field. ‘

Don’t miss it: this is a great year for Thornhill.

He started 16 games as a freshman from Virginia, and made 58 innings with three innings and a touchdown. But the injury lasted in Year 2, when he saw only eight of his 16 starts and saw his playing time cut short, and Thornhill struggled to secure his place in the base defense last season.

He started 12 of 17 games with 64 career measurements and was well established in the crucial contract year.

The Steelers reportedly set the security market early on Wednesday when they agreed to a $ 73.6 million multi-year deal with Minkah Fitzpatrick, which is backed by $ 36 million. Jamal Adams of Seattle, Marcus Williams of Baltimore and Justin Simmons after big contracts with Denver rival AFC West.

“I have high expectations. It’s just as easy as that,” Thornhill said. “I plan to play my best football, by far, at the top of my game. I’m looking forward to the All-Pro season. That’s what I’m saying right now.”

In other news, the Chiefs said that Frank Clark’s defensive end was exempt from training for the second day in a row after new cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and Joshua Williams left work with the coaches on Tuesday.

Others who did not practice Orlando Brown Jr. they were a left-wing player who has yet to sign and notify his franchise bid; defender Jerick McKinnon, who was signed this week; Tega Wanogho Prince Tega Wanogho offensive lineman; defensive Malik Herring; and right-hander Lucas Niang, who is still recovering from a knee injury.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid is expected to discuss the mini-camp after Thursday’s final training session, after which the Chiefs will take a summer break before heading to West Missouri University training camp in late July.

Associated Press report

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