Chiefs’ Felix Anudike-Uzomah says he’s 100% after thumb injury suffered on huge play

JULY 19, 2023 3:43 PM
There had been some confusion about precisely when defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah suffered a thumb injury while playing for Kansas State last season. He set the record straight on the first day of practice for quarterbacks and rookies at Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western.
And Wildcats fans will immediately recognize the moment.
“I did it on the last defensive play of the Big 12 championship game,” Anudike-Uzomah said.
TCU had fourth and goal from the 1 on the first possession of overtime. Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan handed off to running back Kendre Miller, and Anudike-Uzomah was the first to make contact, getting his left arm on Miller.
Anudike-Uzomah wound up at the bottom of the pile in what might be the biggest defensive play in K-State history. K-State kicked a field goal on its possession and captured its first conference title in a decade.
He didn’t know it at the time, but Anudike-Uzomah’s right thumb was injured badly enough to later require surgery. The extend of the problem wasn’t known until after the Wildcats played Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Anudike-Uzomah was preparing for the draft.
The injury didn’t cost the Lee’s Summit native a first-round position. The Chiefs selected him with the 31st and final spot on the first night of NFL Draft in Kansas City. And after being limited during organized team activities, he declared himself “100%” healthy after the first day.
Still, missing practice time took its toll on Anudike-Uzomah.
“It was very tough,” he said. “They drafted me to play right away. All the coaches expect a lot of me and it was tough that I couldn’t do what they wanted me to do right away. There were a lot of mental reps, a lot of learning the playbook. I couldn’t be on the field, so I had to do it mentally.”
Plus, he had the support of teammates, especially fellow rookies. The bond was never more evident than Wednesday, when Anudike-Uzomah crashed a press conference interview with fellow rookie and offensive lineman Wanya Morris.
Asked about Anudike-Uzomah, Morris, who played his final two seasons at Oklahoma, spoke on the schools’ rivalry.
“My first impression of Felix is we don’t like K-State,” Morris said.
Anudike-Uzomah: I got a sack on you.
Morris: No you didn’t.
Back and forth it went. Let’s go to the tape. Yes, Anudike-Uzomah beat Morris for a sack in the 2021 game won by Kansas State in Norman.
That was one of 20 1/2 sacks during a Kansas State career, punctuated by winning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year last season while having a hand in the game-winning play in the title game.
After his first training camp practice, Anudike-Uzomah said he has catching up to do.
“I’m not going to lie, today was tough,” he said. “Almost every first fall camp, even in college, it’s going to be tough. You have to get into football shape, and training isn’t football shape. Hopefully these next few days it will get easier.”

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