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Steve Spagnuolo says L’Jarius Sneed’s return to the lineup is “huge” for the Chiefs

Mike Florio and Chris Simms reflect back on Brett Veach’s move to trade Tyreek Hill to explain why doing so took pressure off Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid.

Doctors cleared Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed from concussion protocol, allowing him to return after playing only four snaps in the AFC Championship Game.

“I feel 110 percent,” Sneed said Monday night.

The Chiefs have used rookies Trent McDuffie and Jaylen Watson extensively this season. McDuffie played 59.4 percent of the defensive snaps in the regular season and Watson 52.7 percent. With Sneed out early in the championship game, the Chiefs needed Joshua Williams in a bigger role.

The 2022 fourth-round pick, who had played only 38 percent of the defensive snaps in the regular season, played 59 of 66 snaps against the Bengals.

Sneed’s return will help the Chiefs against an offense featuring playmakers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

Huge,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo told NFL Media. “When we didn’t have him last week, it was a huge concern. The young guys stepped up, but L’Jarius is really important to us. He’s our leader back there. He makes plays for us. Played a lot of different positions, and I’m glad he’s cleared and ready to go.”

But McDuffie, Watson and Williams have enough experience now that the Chiefs trust them.

“We know if something happens, we can fall back on those guys,” Spagnuolo said. “Those guys haven’t blinked all year long when they’ve had to go in. It’s a credit to the guys that coach them. . . . It’s a really close unit together. It’s been huge. L’Jarius is certainly a leader of that group.”