Kadarius Toney [608x342]
Kadarius Toney [608x342] (Credit: Ed Zurga/AP Photo)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When wide receiver Kadarius Toney was benched for the final three regular-season games and four more in the postseason after his mistakes crushed his team, it was easy to assume his time with the Kansas City Chiefs had come to an end.

But not only is Toney still with the Chiefs as they've started their offseason program, he is participating in throwing sessions with Patrick Mahomes in Texas, and both general manager Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid sound as if Toney is solidly in their plans.

"He is probably our most talented wideout now," Veach said. "It doesn't do anyone any good unless you stay healthy. But the kid has always worked hard here for us and I know he's been down there with Pat and I think it's a matter of him staying healthy and I think if he can do that, he can really do a lot of great things in this offense.

"People around the building like him and it's the injury bug and hopefully he gets some luck on his side and he can stay healthy and be the player that he was in Florida and the player that we've seen in spurts here."

Toney's disappointing 2023 season was a surprise to the Chiefs, who got him in a trade with the New York Giants at midseason the year before. He gave them some big plays in 2022, including a 65-yard, fourth-quarter punt return to set up a touchdown in their Super Bowl LVII win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

His 2023 season was disrupted before it even started when he tore his meniscus while catching punts before the first practice at training camp. He was listed on the weekly injury report with various ailments for 19 of the Chiefs' 21 games, postseason included.

He was back by the first game of the season but never looked like the player who led the Chiefs to send third- and sixth-round draft picks to the New York Giants. He deflected a catchable pass to a defender for an interception on two different plays. One was returned for a touchdown in a one-point loss to the Detroit Lions.

He also lined up offside to wipe out the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter of a loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The Chiefs are staying patient with Toney, 25, a first-round draft pick by the Giants in 2021. Despite his costly mistakes last season, the Chiefs can afford to do it. They aren't deep at wide receiver, with only Toney, Marquise Brown, Justin Watson and possibly Rashee Rice -- depending on his legal status after his involvement in a six-car crash in Texas last month -- assured of a roster spot for next season.

"Kadarius is arguably one of the most talented guys we have on the team," Reid said. "It's just a matter of staying healthy and being able to stay on the field.

"I'm expecting him to come back ripping and ready to go. It's great that he's down there working with Pat and putting the work in so that's a positive. We like Kadarius. It's just a matter of having him on the field."