KC’s Thornhill eager to embrace new role as team leader

When Kansas City lost all-pro safety Tyrann Mathieu to free agency, it also meant losing a vocal team leader, particularly in the defensive secondary. Third-year safety Juan Thornhill hopes to fill that role.

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June 16, 2022 - 2:50 PM

Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill runs back a third quarter interception as linebacker Anthony Hitchens blocks center Lloyd Cushenberry during the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Denver Broncos at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 22-9. Photo by Jill Toyoshiba / The Kansas City Star / TNS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The prevailing narrative was that the Kansas City Chiefs signed Justin Reid away from the Houston Texans in free agency when they decided to move on from three-time All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu.

It was a one-for-one substitution, nice and tidy.

The reality is that Mathieu’s replacement might have already been on the team in the form of Juan Thornhill, who has been an in-and-out of the lineup starter his first three seasons in the league. With the departure of Mathieu and Dan Sorensen in free agency, Thornhill is the only safety on the roster with much experience in coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.

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