Chiefs active LB Justin Houston from PUP list

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs activated linebacker Justin Houston to the active roster ahead of Wednesday’s deadline to remove the veteran from the physically unable to perform list or place him on injured reserve.

Sept. 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (18) sacks Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) at Arrowhead Stadium. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Sept. 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (18) sacks Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) at Arrowhead Stadium. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Coach Andy Reid showed no determination, however, what role, if any, the team carves for him the game plan against the Carolina Panthers this week.

“Obviously he’s been cleared to play, but there’s more to it than that,” Reid said earlier this week. “You’ve got to make sure you’re right and you have opportunities to practice and get yourself back.”

The return of Houston adds to a crowded lineup at outside linebacker. Dee Ford played all but one of the team’s defensive snaps Sunday against Jacksonville, taking over Houston’s old role at left outside linebacker. Tamba Hali and Frank Zombo share the workload on the other side. Rookie Dadi Nicolas remains in the mix as well.

Reid said the team hasn’t determined how to fit Houston in the rotation when he returns.

“No, but I think that’s a good thing,” Reid explained. “That’s a good situation there. Tamba, Zombo’s gotten good snaps too. Dadi, young guy coming up through. He’s gotten some good snaps, so it’s a positive thing.”

Teammates as well as coaches said Houston shows flashes of his All-Pro form in practice.

“He’s been a beast on this thing,” Reid said. “It’s been fun to watch, but tough for him to push through. He’s done great with it though.”

Quarterback Alex Smith said the entire team wants to see the pass rusher back on the field pursuing opposing quarterbacks.

“To have him back, his presence and leadership and his energy is something everyone feeds off of,” Smith said. “It will be good to have him back on the field with us.”

The team cleared roster space for Houston earlier this week by placing cornerback Terrance Mitchell on waivers.

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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