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Johnson, Abdullah in line for starting jobs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Guard and free safety were positions for the Chiefs with question marks entering Monday, but there could be a solution ahead of next month’s NFL Draft.

Oct 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah (39) celebrates at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah (39) celebrates at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said during Monday’s media session that guard Rishaw Johnson and safety Husain Abduallah would get the first opportunity at the respective positions.

“It will probably be, Rishaw will get in there and do his thing,” Reid said when asked who would start initially at right guard.

Johnson joined the Chiefs on Sept. 3, 2013 and was signed to the practice squad. He originally entered the league in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of California University of Pennsylvania with the Seattle Seahawks.

Still, Reid indicated there’s more than enough room for competition based on the free-agent signing of offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach and returning players.

The Chiefs currently have 12 offensive linemen on the roster.

“We’ll open it up and let them go,” Reid said. “We signed a kid (Linkenbach) in the offseason, so he’ll get into the mix and compete there. Then we have some guys that we kept that were here with us last year. We’ll let them all get in, mix it up and let’s come up with one that we feel can step in there and go.”

Among the players likely to challenge Johnson are Rokevious Watkins and Linkenbach.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs are set to have an open battle at free safety, a position vacated by Kendrick Lewis, who signed a free-agent deal with the Houston Texans.

The Chiefs re-signed Abdullah to a two-year deal and have Sanders Commings returning from injured reserve.

Of course, the Chiefs could still add a defensive back during May’s draft. But it appears Abdullah, who enters his sixth professional season, currently has an advantage.

“We’ll see on that,” Reid said. “Right now, Abdullah is the obvious one and deserving of that opportunity, so he’ll be in there, too.”

Reid added Commings would also compete.