Mike DeVito remembers sitting in a box seat high above the Arrowhead Stadium field on Aug. 7, relegated to watching his Chiefs teammates face the Cincinnati Bengals in their preseason opener.
To be honest, it’s a moment DeVito — a defensive end who missed all four preseason games with a fractured hand — would rather forget.
“It was really hard — hard to watch,” DeVito said. “Even though it’s the preseason and … obviously the games don’t count, it’s still so hard to sit. I had to beg to be on the sidelines (after that) because I was like, ‘I can’t watch from the sidelines anymore.’”
So for the next three games, that’s exactly what DeVito did.
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“At least on the sideline, you can be a part of it a little bit more,” DeVito said. “You can see the plays, look at the iPad, see what’s going on, talk to the guys. You feel a little bit more part of the team.”
This week DeVito, 30, expects to take the next step and rejoin his teammates fully for their season opener agains the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
“The hand feels so much better,” DeVito said. “The staff did a great job getting it right. I was kind of surprised it took so long for such a little thing, but I’m glad I feel good. My body feels good, so I’m ready to go.”
DeVito, a starter last season, fills an essential role as a run-stuffing interior player in defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s defense. Naturally, he’s used to the banging that occurs in the trenches, but it didn’t take him long to figure out that something was wrong when he suffered his hand injury early in camp.
“I was in a drill, we were in 9-on-7,” DeVito said. “I came out and I remember — usually with your hand you don’t say anything because you’re always smashing your hands — but it (hurt) just enough where I was like ‘You know what, I’m just gonna check.’ I pulled my glove off and it just swelled right up. And they knew right way.”
DeVito said he doesn’t expect to play with a cast on Sunday, but would if it meant getting back on the field with his guys.
“I should be without a cast,” DeVito said. “We’re gonna feel it out this week and see how things go … but it would have been up to (athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) and those guys. Those guys know I’m ready to play with a torn ACL.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said the only injury to report was center Eric Kush’s. Reid said Kush has a shoulder injury and wasn’t expected to practice Wednesday.