Kareem Hunt reclaims featured back spot as Chiefs return to full strength

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After finishing the final regular-season game with one functioning running back, the Kansas City Chiefs were back to full strength at the position as they started preparations for Saturday’s wild-card round playoff game against the Tennessee Titans.

Kareem Hunt, the NFL’s leading rusher in the regular season, was at practice to reclaim his role as the featured back. Top backup Charcandrick West returned after missing last week’s game against the Denver Broncos because of illness. The Chiefs also signed veteran C.J. Spiller for the fifth time this season to replace their other running back, Akeem Hunt. He was placed on the injured reserve list because of an ankle injury he suffered in Denver.

The Chiefs can go back to their regular rotation against the Titans, with Kareem Hunt getting most of the work and West playing on third downs and other select situations and even Spiller perhaps getting some work.

That’s a far different situation than in the Broncos game. Coach Andy Reid didn’t want Kareem Hunt to play much with the Chiefs having already clinched the AFC West championship and being locked into the fourth overall playoff seed.

So Hunt was in for just five plays, one being his 35-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Akeem Hunt left the game in the second quarter with his injury and didn’t return. West didn’t even make the trip to Denver, so he was unavailable.

That left fullback Anthony Sherman to be their busiest (14 carries) and most productive (40 yards, one touchdown) back.

Those 14 carries were the only ones Sherman had all season. He’s free to go back to his regular role of blocker and special-teams player against the Titans.