KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Chiefs plan to have pass rusher Charles Omenihu, who was suspended the first six games of the regular season, available on their surprisingly stingy defense Sunday when they play the Los Angeles Chargers.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday that Omenihu would get back into the mix at defensive end this week.
The expectation is that he could play some snaps against their AFC West rival, though how many and in what situations remains to be seen.
“I’m kind of looking forward to seeing him get in there,” said Reid, whose team was back to work Monday after an extra break following last Thursday night’s win against the Denver Broncos. “I don’t know if he’s going to be able to step in and play the whole game, one of those things. I think we kind of ease him back in there and let him get going. See how he does.”
The Chiefs signed Omenihu to a two-year, $16-million contract last offseason, even though they knew a suspension was likely.
He was playing for the 49ers last season when police were called to his San Jose home for a report of domestic violence, according to the San Jose Police Department. A woman who said she was Omenihu’s girlfriend told officers he had “pushed her to the ground during an argument,” though there were no visible injuries and she declined medical treatment.
The NFL ended up suspending him six games for violating its personal conduct policy.
Omenihu, who had 4½ sacks while starting three games and appearing in all 17 for San Francisco last season, remained eligible to participate in training camp. He also appeared in the Chiefs’ preseason games before beginning his suspension.
“He’s been back here. He’s in good shape. It’s just a matter of getting him back in there,” Reid said. “Worked his tail off, he’s kept himself in good shape when he’s been gone here. It’s just a matter of getting back in and getting into the swing of things.”
The Chiefs have 17 sacks through their first six games, but 5½ of them have come from All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones providing pressure up the middle.
They have gotten less pressure from defensive end, where Mike Danna is second on the team with 3½ sacks and second-year pro George Karlaftis is third with 2½ sacks.
The Chiefs were counting on Omenihu to replace Frank Clark, who signed a free-agent deal with Denver.
Coincidentally, the Broncos just released Clark after failing to find a trade partner for him -- he only appeared in two of their first five games and was inactive with what the team called an illness for Thursday night’s loss in Kansas City.
The Chiefs are a natural landing spot for Clark, who went to three Pro Bowls in four seasons with them and helped deliver two Lombardi Trophies. But the Chiefs remain tight against the salary cap, and given the surprisingly good play of their defense this season, they may be reluctant to add another piece to the mix.
“Like I’ve mentioned before, we love Frank,” Reid said. “Right now we’re just talking through some things there. There are a few things you have to look at when you do that, but that’s kind of where we’re at. We haven’t done anything to this point.”