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Chiefs’ Knile Davis is happy to be back in kick-return mix

Chiefs running back Knile Davis (34) is again on the active roster for Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Oakland.
Chiefs running back Knile Davis (34) is again on the active roster for Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Oakland. deulitt@kcstar.com

One player who was extremely happy following the Chiefs’ 30-22 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday was Knile Davis.

After being left off the Chiefs’ 46-man gameday roster the previous two weeks, Davis — who returned four kicks for a solid 26.5 yards average — was simply grateful to find himself back in the mix, and he appreciated the praise he received from special teams coach Dave Toub afterward, too.

“Coach Toub was just happy, because I think, coming into the game (Buffalo was allowing) like 15 (yards per kick return) the whole season, and I think I averaged like 26,” said Davis, who also had a 38-yard return in the first half nullified by a penalty. “He was like ‘That was an unbelievable job.’ ”

It has been a tough season for Davis, who opened the season as the Chiefs’ No. 2 running back — and served in the same role the previous two years — only to see two younger backs, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware, seize the job ahead of him once starter Jamaal Charles was lost for the season.

Davis, who has also been the Chiefs’ leading kick returner the last two years, even lost that role for a few weeks, as he was made inactive against Denver and San Diego in mid-November in a move coach Andy Reid said was aimed at solidifying other areas of the Chiefs’ special teams.

When De’Anthony Thomas suffered a concussion against the Chargers on Nov. 22, that opened the door for Davis to find his way back onto the field, and he was determined to make an impact. He was so charged up he opted to return his first kickoff, even though he was 8 or 9 yards deep in the end zone.

“Coming into the game, I had an attitude and mindset,” Davis said. “I was just trying to break out, I was trying to go score, that was my goal. That’s my goal this week, too.”

Thomas has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Raiders, so Davis will get his chance.

Although Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski is drilling about 60 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks, Davis is definitely looking forward to the opportunity after a humbling two weeks on the bench.

“I was just happy, happy to be out there,” Davis said of the Buffalo win. “I was real excited ... you really don’t understand it until you’re not able to do it, when it’s taken away from you.

“But man, when I got my opportunity, it was like I was a little kid in high school playing. That’s what I went back to.”

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