In case you missed it, the Kansas City Chiefs officially reactivated second-year wide receiver Justyn Ross on December 18, placing WR Skyy Moore on the injured reserve.
Fan account Brad Henson Productions joined Chiefs Kingdom in welcoming Ross back the following morning, as did defensive teammate Charles Omenihu — who quoted the clip shared by Henson.
Omenihu’s message was simple and to the point: “8 is free.”
8 is free. https://t.co/OuEKpEKCEO
— Charles Omenihu (@charless_94) December 19, 2023
The X post quickly went viral with over 1.8K likes and counting in under seven hours.
Chiefs WR Justyn Ross Appears to Have Support of Teammates, Fans
Whenever a domestic violence incident makes headlines around the league, there’s always speculation on whether or not said player involved will continue on with his franchise.
In this case, however, Ross appears to be getting support from both the locker room and the fanbase based on the popularity of Omenihu’s message.
The youngster has been well-liked since entering the league. After all, his comeback story is a unique one, and sports fans tend to root for athletes that have gone through adversity.
The Chiefs also remained patient with Ross when he was initially arrested and placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. “We’re taking in all of the information, and have been,” head coach Andy Reid said at the time. “We’ll continue to do that. He’s back here [at the facility]. He’ll work today, and we’ll just take it from there.”
Ross was eventually suspended six games, although five of the six outings were accounted for while he awaited due process on the aforementioned exempt list. He ended up missing his seventh outing in Week 15, as Kansas City elected to hold him back one more game.
Omenihu was also suspended for a portion of the 2023 campaign after a domestic violence arrest of his own.
Chiefs WR Skyy Moore Will Miss Remainder of 2023 Regular Season
The corresponding bit of news on Ross’ return was that Moore would be placed on IR. This was a predicted possibility by some after the former second-round pick left Week 15 early with a knee injury.
A-to-Z Sports Kansas City media member Charles Goldman outlined this injury designation on December 18.
“The team announced on Monday that they had placed [Moore] on injured reserve,” he wrote. “He’ll miss a minimum of four weeks, which means he’ll miss the final three weeks of the regular season and potentially the team’s first postseason game [if KC makes the playoffs].”
Moore would be eligible to return for round two of the postseason, if the Chiefs were to make it that far.
That means Moore will finish what was pegged as a breakout season with less yards than his disappointing rookie campaign. The 23-year-old caught 21-of-38 targets for 244 yards in 2023 according to Pro Football Reference, with one total touchdown and 13 first downs despite eight starts and 14 appearances.
In just three starts (16 appearances) last year, he achieved 250 receiving yards and another 13 first downs. Moore’s catch percentage was also far better as a rookie with a 66.7% rate compared to his 55.3% mark in year two.
Considering Rashee Rice’s emergence as a rookie, 2024 will be a crucial season for Moore if he wants to remain a part of Kansas City’s future plans at wide receiver. In theory, KC general manager Brett Veach could shop the recent draft pick before then, but it might be smarter to hold onto him and hope things start to click with another offseason inside the system.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been supportive of Moore throughout the year, but his dwindling target share tells a different story. That loss of trust could be the final nail in the coffin.