Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed Exits Game vs. Bengals With Apparent Injury

Kansas City’s starting cornerback was slow to get up on the first drive of the game.

The Kansas City Chiefs came into their AFC Championship Game matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals already nursing some injuries, and another one appeared to have set in during the game’s opening drive. On an attempted tackle of Cincinnati running back Samaje Perine, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed got hit in the helmet and remained on the ground thereafter.

Once he got to his feet and walked off to the sideline, something the in-game broadcast described as a “wobble,” Sneed visited the on-site medical tent for further evaluation. After the tent got taken down, Sneed remained on the sideline with his teammates but didn’t have his helmet on. When Kansas City’s defense took the field for the Bengals’ second drive of the first quarter, Sneed didn’t join them. Instead, he headed to the locker room.

Early in that drive, reporter Tracy Wolfson indicated that Sneed was being evaluated for a head injury. The Chiefs then officially confirmed it shortly after. Sneed played all 17 regular-season games for the Chiefs this season, being on the field for 96% of the team’s available snaps on that side of the ball. In those contests, he recorded a career-high 108 tackles (and a 4.4 missed tackle percentage) while also putting up career-bests in passes broken up (11), sacks (3.5) and forced fumbles (3). In coverage, Sneed allowed an 84.2 passer rating with a 6.2 yards-per-target average.

Sneed has battled various nagging injuries throughout the season, playing through some during games and also being on the team’s weekly injury report several times. In last week’s Divisional Round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, he recorded nine tackles in 59 total snaps played. Without Sneed on the field, Steve Spagnuolo’s secondary is tasked with fielding a trio of rookie cornerbacks: Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams.

On the Chiefs’ second offensive drive, wide receiver Kadarius Toney limped off to the sideline following a play and was subsequently getting his left foot looked at before ultimately leaving for the locker room. At the beginning of the second quarter, the Chiefs announced that it was an ankle injury for Toney and he’s questionable to return. Right guard Trey Smith collided with wide receiver Mecole Hardman and was slow to get up not too long after that, but he remained in the game.

UPDATE: Near the end of the first half, Sneed was downgraded to out by the Chiefs. He’s now in the league’s concussion protocol.