What Happened to Chiefs Running Back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Why Isn’t He Playing?

While the cliche might say that defense wins championships, the Kansas City Chiefs rode their offense all the way to a Super Bowl victory last season. In 2020, however, the rich got richer. In addition to their elite quarterback and talented receiving corps, the Chiefs drafted a talented young running back in the form of Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

The Kansas City Chiefs, however, will be without their rookie running back for the foreseeable future. What happened to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and why is he out of the lineup?

Clyde Edwards-Helaire looks like a legitimate NFL talent

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In the modern NFL, few teams build their entire offense around a running back. While the Kansas City Chiefs are never going to tell Patrick Mahomes to stop throwing the ball, Clyde Edwards-Helaire looks like a legitimate threat out of the backfield.

Edwards-Helaire played his college ball at LSU, where he spent three seasons with the Tigers. While the running back didn’t see much action as a freshman, he began to show his potential during his second NCAA campaign. As a junior, though, everything clicked; he rushed for 1,414 yards, piled up 1,867 receiving yards, and scored 17 total touchdowns.

On the back of that success, Edwards-Helaire entered the 2020 NFL draft. The Kansas City Chiefs snapped him up with the final pick of the first round.

While things have slowed down a bit since his explosive Week 1 debut, Edwards-Helaire has still shown plenty of promise during his rookie campaign. Through 15 weeks of the season, he posted 803 rushing yards and four touchdowns; the back has also caught 36 passes for 297 yards and an additional score.

Why isn’t Clyde Edwards-Helaire playing for the Chiefs?

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Even if Clyde Edwards-Helaire hasn’t dominated the NFL during his rookie campaign, he’s still been a valuable cog in the Kansas City Chiefs offense. The club, however, will be without their starting running back through the remainder of the regular season.

In the fourth quarter of the Chiefs’ Week 15 game against the New Orleans Saints, Edwards-Helaire didn’t get up after a short run. Replays revealed that his leg bent back awkwardly underneath a defender’s body.

According to Ian Rapoport, Edwards-Helaire suffered both a high ankle sprain and a hip strain on the play. While the former issue is more concerning for the club, they’re still hopeful that he can return for the playoffs, especially if the Chiefs can secure the first-round bye.

If nothing else, though, we know that Clyde Edwards-Helaire will miss the rest of the regular season with his injuries.

The Kansas City Chiefs are prepared for this exact scenario, though

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It goes without saying that no NFL team wants to lose one of their key starters. The Kansas City Chiefs, however, are uniquely positioned to survive without Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Earlier this season, Kansas City signed Le’Veon Bell to a one-year contract. While the running back might not be the same man who starred with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he’s more than capable of shouldering the load for a few weeks. It’s also worth remembering that the Chiefs have an incredibly explosive offense; having Patrick Mahomes under center can cover up plenty of issues.

With the regular season coming to an end, the Kansas City Chiefs will be hoping to make another deep playoff run. The longer they can stay alive, the better the chance that they’ll get Clyde Edwards-Helaire back to full health.

Stats courtesy of Sport-Reference and Pro-Football-Reference