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Justin Reid eager to take charge of Chiefs secondary, continue 'dynasty' in Kansas City

In his first season with the Kansas City Chiefs, free safety Justin Reid started all 20 games -- from Week 1 to Super Bowl LVII -- alongside strong safety Juan Thornhill in the defensive backfield.

Entering the 2023 campaign, with Thornhill now in Cleveland, Reid, 26, is all of a sudden an elder statesman in Kansas City's secondary, among the likes of L'Jarius Sneed, Jaylen Watson, Trent McDuffie and new starting safety Bryan Cook.

That role suits the sixth-year defensive back just fine.

"I think that's the reason they brought me there is to command the back end," Reid told KPRC 2 Houston's Aaron Wilson last month. "Not just be a leader by speaking, but to be a leader by example and to help those young guys on the roster develop into the players they're capable of being."

Reid joined Kansas City in 2022 after four years in Houston, where he broke out immediately as a 2018 third-round pick next to veteran safety Tyrann Mathieu. Reid played just one season with the Honey Badger on the Texans before Mathieu joined the Chiefs for their first Super Bowl run of the Patrick Mahomes era.

Three years later, Reid followed Mathieu's path -- from starter in Houston to champion in Kansas City -- and he hopes to continue to do so in a leadership capacity.

"Tyrann, I'll never forget his thing was a mentality and attitude, the work ethic and just playing with a savviness," Reid explained to Wilson. "He called it 'championship swagger,' fall forward. His pregame speeches were second to none. He was a big leader in the room, he was someone that everybody gravitated to. So, when he did leave Houston, I kind of took over a little bit of that role by the precedent that he set. Tyrann's an unbelievable guy, an unbelievable player.

"I have always said that a copy is never worth as much as the original. There will never, ever, ever be another Tyrann Mathieu [to] come through Kansas City. There just won't, but I bring the best Justin Reid possible to Kansas City."

The "best Justin Reid possible" will apparently be a heavier Justin Reid in 2023. The safety told Wilson that he weighs about 215 pounds at this point of the offseason, 12 pounds heavier than last year, when he logged a career-high 1,313 defensive snaps and 100 tackles.

Reid added he feels good about the extra weight on his body -- and his shoulders, as a "play-caller on defense" and a newfound leader with Super Bowl expectations.

"Honestly, the page is already turned," Reid said of the Chiefs' mindset after their second title in four years. "We're out there working, chasing another championship. Every year is different. We've got an even bigger target on our back than last year. We get to enjoy that moment.

"As far as the mentality in the room, we're working to continue this dynasty and what we did last year and not just rest on our laurels."

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