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Chiefs Linebacker Anthony Hitchens Exits Game vs. Washington With Injury

The Chiefs' starting linebacker was forced out after delivering a hard hit against the Washington Football Team.

In the second quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs' Week 6 matchup against the Washington Football Team, linebacker Anthony Hitchens entered the locker room for evaluation after suffering an apparent elbow injury.

The injury came after Hitchens was flagged for unnecessary roughness stemming from a big hit. The veteran linebacker remained on the field while kneeling for a brief period, then was helped to the sideline and promptly proceeded to begin the injury evaluation process. Per the team, he is questionable to return to action. 

Hitchens, now in his fourth season with the Chiefs, had 31 tackles heading into Sunday's game. He had 135 in 2018 but has seen his totals steadily decline over the past few years. As the eldest and highest-paid linebacker in the room, the expectation has been that 2021 could be a career-best season for him. That hasn't been the case thus far, though, as he's struggled in both coverage and run support for stretches. 

Until Hitchens is able to return, which is unclear, Ben Niemann will replace him as the "green dot" linebacker. This defender is responsible for communicating with the defense and ensuring alignments are correct.

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Joining Niemann in the team's linebacking corps are Willie Gay Jr. and Nick Bolton. The Chiefs' 2020 second-round pick, Gay, made his debut season last week after being on the injured reserve list and missing time due to a toe injury. Bolton, a 2021 second-round pick, has played significant snaps throughout the year and is relied upon very early in his career by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

UPDATE: In the third quarter, Hitchens was downgraded to out. Additionally, wide receiver Tyreek Hill was designated as questionable to return with a quad injury. He came into the game nursing a quad ailment. 

This story is being updated.

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