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Why was Kansas City Chiefs’ Willie Gay suspended for 4 games?

Willie Gay Jr. was charged with a misdemeanor in Kansas, resulting in a four-game suspension by the NFL. What happened?

Willie Gay Jr. was charged with a misdemeanor in Kansas, resulting in a four-game suspension by the NFL

Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay was suspended by the NFL for four games Monday for violating its personal conduct policy.

The 24-year-old was arrested in January in Overland Park, Kansas, and charged with criminal property damage of less than $1,000, which is considered a misdemeanor. According to Gay’s representative, Maxx Lepselter, Gay broke a vacuum that belonged to the mother of his son during an argument, but nobody was harmed.

Gay Jr. resolved the case, agreeing to a diversion program in June that allowed the NFL to conduct its investigation and issue a suspension.

Due to no appeal of the penalty, the suspension begins immediately, with the linebacker bound to miss Sunday’s game in Indianapolis along with games against Tampa Bay, Las Vegas and Buffalo. He will not be allowed in the training facility until Monday, Oct. 3, which is ahead of the Chiefs-Bills Week 6 matchup. Leading up to his return to the field in Week 7 against the 49ers, Gay Jr. will be allowed to practice and attend team meetings one week before.

Who will replace Willie Gay Jr.?

The Chiefs, who let veteran Anthony Hitchens go after last season, are relying heavily on Gay Jr. to strengthen the linebacker position, together with second-year pro Nick Bolton. Starting in two games against the Cardinals and Chargers, Gay Jr. had 16 tackles, tied for second-most on the team. He also has one quarterback hit and two tackles for loss.

Now, the Chiefs have to figure out how to pick up the slack in Gay Jr.’s absence using the likes of Leo Chenal, Elijah Lee, Darius Harris and Jack Cochrane. Third-round pick Chenal seems to be the likeliest contender to replace Gay Jr. in the lineup.