Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay was suspended by the NFL for four games Monday for violating its personal conduct policy.
Gay was arrested in January in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas, and charged with misdemeanor criminal property damage of less than $1,000. Gay’s representative, Maxx Lepselter, said at the time that Gay broke a vacuum that belonged to the mother of his son during an argument in which nobody was harmed.
Gay agreed to a diversion program in June to resolve the criminal case.
There was no appeal of the penalty, so Gay will miss Sunday’s game in Indianapolis along with games against Tampa Bay, Las Vegas and Buffalo.
NFL rules prohibit him from interacting with the team during the first two weeks.
The Chiefs, who parted with veteran Anthony Hitchens after last season, are counting heavily on Gay to help solidify the linebacker spot alongside second-year pro Nick Bolton. Gay started their first two games against the Cardinals and Chargers and is tied for second on the team in tackles, tackles for loss and passes defended.
“I definitely feel like my role has increased,” Gay acknowledged during training camp. “I feel like me and Nick, we have bigger roles to fill and to lead this defense, to lead this team on the defensive side and just do what we need to do to make sure we’re in position to lead.”
Third-round pick Leo Chenal is the likeliest candidate to replace Gay in the lineup. The Chiefs also have Elijah Lee and Darius Harris, who play primarily special teams, and undrafted rookie Jack Cochrane on the roster.