The Chiefs have waived Cairo Santos with an injury designation, opening the possibility of the injured kicker signing with another team.
Santos, in his fourth season, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, two days after suffering a groin injury in the Chiefs’ victory at the Los Angeles Chargers. Santos missed three weeks of training camp with the injury.
At the time, it was thought Santos could be one of two players the Chiefs elect to activate from IR once he spends eight weeks on the inactive list.
Cornerback Steven Nelson, on injured reserve, figures to be one of those players.
But the Chiefs believe they are in good shape with the kicker they signed earlier in the week from the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad, rookie Harrison Butker.
Special-teams coach Dave Toub said Friday that Butker, a four-year starter at Georgia Tech, was the team’s highest-rated kicker on the draft board.
“He was our number one guy coming out of this year as a rookie,” Toub said. “So if we were going to draft a guy, he was going to be the guy we would probably target. So we felt good about him coming out, we just weren’t looking for a kicker at that time.”
Butker will make his NFL debut Monday night when Washington visits Arrowhead Stadium.
If Santos clears waivers, it’s possible the Chiefs could re-sign him in six weeks, if he returns in good health.
Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said earlier in the week that Santos wasn’t injured on a field-goal attempt when the Chargers were penalized for roughing the kicker. The injury happened on Santos’ final attempt during warm-ups.
“We got him through the game then brought him here Monday and he was a little bit worse,” Burkholder said. “We did some studies on him and realized he has a fairly significant groin injury.”