Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki’s oft-injured career has suffered another setback.
Coach Andy Reid said Monday that Moeaki suffered a shoulder fracture in the Chiefs’ overtime win Saturday at Pittsburgh. It is uncertain how long he will be out.
Moeaki suffered the injury early in the fourth quarter after he hauled in a 24-yard pass from Chase Daniel.
“He got tackled and landed on it …” Reid said. “He was actually tackled on that spot and then landed on it.”
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Moeaki, a four-year veteran, had a history of injuries in college at Iowa, and it has followed him with the Chiefs. He missed all of the 2011 season because of a knee injury sustained in the final preseason game, and he missed all of the offseason program this year after undergoing a procedure on his knee.
“He has had a couple of injuries,” Reid said, “but in some of those in a lot of cases with different players, you can change that around in your career, and hopefully this is his last one.”
Moeaki, who caught 47 passes for 556 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games as a rookie, also played in 15 games last season and caught 33 passes for 453 yards and a touchdown. He missed one game in 2010 and 2012 due to a head injury.
The tight end is a major part of Reid’s West Coast offense, and Moeaki’s absence, if for an extended period, could affect the passing game. Moeaki (6-foot-3, 252 pounds) often is flanked wide and even begins plays in the backfield or in the slot.
“He does a great job creating mismatches,” fellow tight end Anthony Fasano said of Moeaki. “He can run block just as well as run routes and catch passes, so it’s problematic for defenses and good for our offense.
“If we were to lose him for any amount of time, it would be a loss for our team. We did a good job in camp, kind of defining roles as far as the tight end position is concerned in our offense, and we were really going to complement each other well. Hopefully it’s not as major as people are making it out to be.”
Compounding matters, Travis Kelce, a third-round draft pick who showed great promise early in training camp, missed last week’s game at Pittsburgh because of a knee injury. He returned to practice on Monday. The other tight ends in camp are first-year player Kevin Brock, and rookie Demetrius Harris, a converted college basketball player.
The Chiefs run a lot of formations with two tight ends, and Fasano leads the club with eight receptions for 69 yards in the preseason.
Fasano, who signed with the Chiefs as a free agent during the offseason, believes the young players can fill Moeaki’s role, especially Kelce.
“Travis has come a long way, even from spring,” Fasano said. “For a rookie, he has a lot of confidence, and a great skill set. Losing Tony, if that were to happen, would definitely be a loss, but our tight end position will be able to step in and fill the void.”
Besides Moeaki, four other players did not practice Monday because of injury: guard Jon Asamoah (calf strain); linebacker Nico Johnson (high ankle sprain); and wide receiver Dexter McCluster (illness); and Sanders Commings (collarbone).