Chiefs LB Elijah Lee relishing opportunity to compete for starting spot

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Poor linebacker play has plagued the Kansas City Chiefs over the past few seasons, but with a new influx of talent at the position in 2022, things are looking up for the beleaguered defense.

The release of Anthony Hitches in the offseason was a clear indicator of substantive change, and the selection of Leo Chenal in the third round of April’s draft cemented the future of the position. But the addition of veteran linebacker Elijah Lee, a St. Joseph, Missouri native and Blue Springs alum, could prove to be the most underrated move the Chiefs made since their loss in the AFC title game.

After bouncing around the league between 2017 and 2020, he found a home with the Cleveland Browns before inking a contract with his hometown team in March. Now primed to compete for meaningful snaps on a defense that is set out to prove that Chiefs football is about more than raw scoring power on offense. With a legitimate chance to become a defensive fixture on a championship-caliber team, in his fifth year in the league, Lee is leaving nothing on the table.

“You know, you relish it,” Lee said about the opportunity to compete for a starting role. “I don’t know how this thing is going to shake out. I’m just going to put my best foot forward. At the same time, some people just say that I have always been special teams but at the same time early on in (my) career, I was relied on to play early. So, I know what it takes to be in that position and take advantage of the role, however it shakes out. Wherever I can help I am going to put my best foot forward.”

He’ll have some stiff competition if he truly intends to start, but Lee knows what he is up against and doesn’t seem phased by the uphill battle he faces. Willie Gay Jr., the aforementioned Chenal, and sophomore sensation Nick Bolton are the presumed incumbents for key roles in the defense. However, with the ever-motivated Lee right behind them, the linebacker corps will be one of the most intriguing positions to watch as training camp in St. Joseph plays out.

List

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Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire