The Chiefs are joining a trend in the NFL. The fullback is out. More tight ends are in.
The Chiefs reduced their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players on Friday night, and among the 21 players who were either released or placed on injured reserve was free agent Patrick DiMarco, the only fullback on the roster.
Because they use so many two tight end or three wide receiver formations, the Chiefs kept four tight ends — Tony Moeaki, Kevin Boss, Steve Maneri and Jake O’Connell — who will be deployed as blocking backs in goal-line and short-yardage situations.
Besides DiMarco, who performed well as a lead blocker with the starting offense and even blocked a punt on special teams in Thursday night’s preseason finale at Green Bay, the Chiefs released the following players: defensive linemen Amon Gordon, Brandon Bair, Leon Williams and Jerome Long; wide receivers Josh Bellamy, Junior Hemingway and Jamar Newsome; defensive backs Mikail Baker, Chandler Fenner, Neiko Thorpe, Terrance Parks and Donald Washington; offensive linemen Rob Bruggeman, Darryl Harris, Lucas Patterson, Rich Ranglin and David Mims; and linebacker Gabe Miller.
Long and Hemmingway were seventh-round draft picks this year; Miller was a fifth-round pick in 2011; and Washington a fourth-round pick in 2009.
The Chiefs also placed defensive back De’Quan Menzie (hip), a fifth-round draft pick this year, and rookie free agent quarterback Alex Tanney (hand) on injured reserve. Menzie’s injury opened a 53-man roster spot for former K-State defensive back Tysyn Hartman, a Wichita native.
The 53-man roster does not include outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who will miss the season opener against Atlanta while serving a one-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The Chiefs will have to make another roster move to add Hali after the opener.
The Chiefs, and all NFL teams, can establish an eight-man practice squad Saturday and claim players who’ve been waived by other teams.