Chiefs tight end Jody Fortson lined up in 7-on-7 red zone drills midway through Sunday morning’s training camp practice at Missouri Western, with rookie cornerback Joshua Williams on the cover.
At the snap of the ball, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Fortson ran a fade route to the right side of the end zone against the 6-foot-3, 197-pound Williams, who appeared to be in good position.
It was no contest, however, as Fortson caught quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ pass on Williams for the touchdown.
The streak served to do more than bolster Fortson’s playing ability. It also showed that Fortson apparently has no lingering effects from a season-ending injury – a ruptured Achilles tendon – he suffered in a Week 6 game last fall.
Make no mistake, one of the Chiefs fan favorites is back.
“I feel like I’m ready to go,” Fortson said confidently.
Returning from an Achilles tendon injury is, on average, a six to 12 month process, according to Med Star Health. Fortson is in that window, of course, but it’s taken a lot of work for him to get to the point where he can train at full speed and without limits.
Fortson, who said he knew at the end of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) in June that he was feeling good, did so by attacking the rehabilitation process and believing in himself with the support of his relatives and teammates.
“I just kept my faith,” he said. “I have a strong support system, especially with my family and my team around me. So I just attacked every day like I was going to play on Sunday.
“I was in the rehab room working, continuing to work like I was going to get dressed that Sunday. They never really allowed me to put myself down, so I was never really beaten down.
He mentioned one particular member of the Chiefs’ athletic training department: Tiffany Morton.
“I owe God a lot, but I owe her a lot because she was really active and didn’t really let me give up,” Fortson said. “There were days when I was like, ‘Tiff, I don’t want to do this.’ But she stayed on top of me and made sure I fought. So kudos to Tiff.
Forston emerged during training camp last year before making the Chiefs’ initial roster of 53 players. He appeared in six games, making the most of his 54 total offensive snaps by catching five catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
Whether he’s really back to form remains to be seen, but so far he’s been so good in his quest to make up for lost time.
Now he is focusing on a specific aspect of his approach while continuing to perfect his craft.
“Patience,” Fortson said. “Not rushing my routes so quickly, allowing just to see where I fit into the puzzle, where I fit into the grand scheme of things. Not trying to do too much, trying to do my job to the best of my abilities.
Rookie defensive lineman Kehinde Oginni Hasson, who didn’t practice on Saturday, was back on the field and seemed to be working without limits.
Rookie linebacker Leo Chenal, who left practice Saturday because of the heat, returned to action on Sunday.
Tackle Lucas Niang (knee), cornerback Rashad Fenton (shoulder) and offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho (leg) worked out the side with a coach at the rehab tent. As expected, the Chiefs officially placed Niang, Fenton, Tega Wanogho and rookie receiver Justyn Ross on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
The Chiefs practiced Sunday with 31 players, including quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The veterans of the team are due to report on Monday.
With no fans present, the Chiefs’ media rules mirror those in place during OTAs: no reporting on personnel groupings (first, second or third team units), specific formations/lineups, and situational rounds or plays .
However, general observations about head-turning games and notable games are allowed, such as:
- Second-round wide receiver Cornell Powell practiced well, catching virtually anything thrown at him in 7-on-7 drills. His most impressive catch came on the left sideline, when he jumped on a defender on a pass from quarterback Chad Henne. Powell’s helmet flew off when he landed on the ground, but he retained possession.
- Rookie linebacker Leo Chenal got an interception from backup quarterback Dustin Crum in the final game of team practice.
- Rookie cornerback Joshua Williams had a nice pass break up on 7-on-7 drills. Williams reached the wide receiver without making contact to reverse the pass.
This story was originally published July 24, 2022 1:50 p.m.