KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A familiar face on defense from the 2013 regular season returned Monday evening.
The Chiefs signed free-agent defensive tackle Kyle Love to a one-year deal at the veteran minimum, his agent, Richard Kopelman of Klass Sports, confirmed in a telephone interview.
Dec 16, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; Steam rises off the head of then-New England Patriots defensive tackle Kyle Love (74) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
“Kyle is very happy,” Kopelman told ChiefsSpin.com. “Kansas City has come a long way. We think they’re going to be a contender for years to come.
“It’s a solid organization with a great tradition and Kyle is a good fit. He’s a good Kansas City kind of guy. I think it’s a really good fit on both sides of the equation.”
The Chiefs, who haven’t confirmed the transaction, originally signed Love last season on Nov. 19 and he appeared in one game in Week 12 against the San Diego Chargers before his release on Dec. 3.
The native of Fairburn, Ga., entered the league in 2010 as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State with the New England Patriots.
Love, who measures 6-foot-1, 315 pounds, spent three seasons with the Patriots, appearing in 41 games (25 starts) and recording 80 tackles (49 solo), 5.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass defensed. Love also appeared in six postseason contests with four starts, recording nine tackles (thee solo).
The Patriots released Love in May 2013 after he was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes. He then spent the offseason and training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the Jaguars released him on Sept. 1.
Unlike last season when Love joined the Chiefs late in the season and learned on the job, Monday’s signing ensures he’ll have the benefit of the offseason to acclimate to the team’s defensive scheme.
The Chiefs open rookie minicamp on Saturday, followed by the first set of organized team activities (OTAs) on May 27-29.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Kopelman said. “He gets out there for some OTAs, he’ll be there for training camp, and I think has an excellent opportunity in Kansas City not just to make the team, but to be a real contributor.”
Meanwhile, the signing of Love brings the Chiefs’ offseason roster to the maximum of 90 players. And the team now has 11 defensive linemen, with six at the defensive tackle position.
Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dontari Poe is entrenched as the starter, but the identity of his primary backup remains to be seen. Love will compete for a roster spot against Jaye Howard, Chas Alecxih, Risean Broussard and Cory Grissom.
“We’re thrilled to have Kyle out there,” Kopelman said. “He’s going to have to fight to earn his spot, no doubt, but I think he’s got a real good shot at it. We like his odds given an opportunity to start fresh, we really like his odds.”