Chiefs might get boost from return of Donnie Avery and his speed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Much of the wide receiving attention has centered this week on the addition of veteran Jason Avant, who played for Andy Reid for several seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

But the Kansas City Chiefs could get a bigger immediate impact if another veteran receiver, Donnie Avery, can return to their lineup. Avery hasn’t played since having surgery almost two months ago to repair a sports hernia.

He returned to practice on a limited basis in recent weeks but was a full participant on Wednesday for the first time since the surgery. Coach Andy Reid was optimistic about Avery’s chance to play Sunday night against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium.

While the Chiefs might not have the right to expect much from a player who hasn’t been in their lineup for two months, Avery at least would provide the element of speed that’s been to some extent missing. His replacements, first A.J. Jenkins and then Frankie Hammond Jr., are fast but not the deep threat that Avery is.

"I think you’ll see some of the same things that you’ve seen earlier in the season with him,’’ offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. "There are some shallow crosses, posts, gos. Just utilize his strength and his strength is speed."

The Chiefs have lacked a downfield passing game most of the season. Their longest pass play through 11 games is 34 yards. Perhaps Avery’s return could help revive that long-dormant portion of their playbook.