KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs on Monday afternoon confirmed the expected bad news.
“Mike DeVito and D.J. (Derrick Johnson) both have Achilles ruptures and will be out for the season,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid announced during his weekly media session. “They’ll undergo surgery on those.”
The Chiefs did not offer a timetable for the surgeries.
Johnson, arguably the heart and soul of the Chiefs defense, suffered his injury in the second quarter during Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
DeVito, a big part of the defensive line, suffered his injury early in the third quarter.
Both players were carted off the field.
“The guys that are hurt,” Reid said, “our heart goes out to them for the hard work that they put in. But we also know that we got some good, young players that can step up and do a good job. That’s what is expected of them.”
The Chiefs are now left seeking answers as potential replacements for both players.
Reid indicated inside linebacker James-Michael Johnson, who played 49 snaps on defense after the 31-year-old Derrick Johnson went down, will likely have the first shot to play alongside Josh Mauga. The latter is currently filling in for Joe Mays (wrist), who is on injured reserve with a designation for return.
As for defensive line, Reid said Jaye Howard and Vance Walker will work on the defensive line. Howard played 24 snaps against the Titans, while Walker played just one.
Walker, whom the Chiefs signed to a three-year, $13 million deal in March, made the most of that play by recording a 10-yard sack on Titans quarterback Jake Locker.
“They’ll both have that opportunity to work in with the defensive line with the 30-year-old DeVito being down,” Reid said of Howard and Walker.
The Chiefs also have options at both positions on the current active roster, including outside linebacker Frank Zombo, who can play inside, and defensive lineman Damion Square.
But the Chiefs will look beyond the roster if necessary.
“We’ll look at our practice squad players,” Reid said. “We’ll also look in the free agent area and any other option that’s available.”
The Chiefs have linebackers Nico Johnson, last season’s fourth-round draft pick, and Jerry Franklin, and defensive linemen Kona Schwenke and Hebron Fangupo on the practice squad.
NOTES: Right tackle Jeff Allen (elbow/bicep) is undergoing evaluation … Starting safeties Husain Abdullah and Eric Berry are dealing with quad contusions … Starting outside linebacker Tamba Hali suffered a “slight ankle sprain,” Reid said … Wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr., who started at the Z position in place of Dwayne Bowe, dealt with a shoulder injury, but “should be OK,” Reid said.