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Former Layton High receiver Marcus Kemp won’t play Super Bowl Sunday, but he can still get a ring

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marcus Kemp runs the ball during training camp Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in St. Joseph, Mo. Kemp, a former Layton High standout, went on injured reserve in August and won’t play in Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV.
Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Marcus Kemp has had a front-row seat to the Kansas City Chiefs’ run to Super Bowl LIV.

That’s both good and bad — good that the former Layton High wide receiver is one Chiefs win away from earning a Super Bowl ring, and he’s felt the community support.

“It’s so cool to see a city come behind a team and push us, propel us forward,” Kemp told ESPN Honolulu last week.

Bad, though, because Kemp hasn’t been able to participate this season. He went on injured reserve after tearing his ACL and MCL in Kansas City’s third preseason game back in August. Because he’s on IR, Kemp isn’t available for the usual media rounds during Super Bowl week.

“I’m doing good. It’s a slow process,” Kemp told ESPN Honolulu. “Throughout the whole season, I’ve been building myself back up to running again. It gives me the opportunity to sit back and focus on the mental part of the game that sometimes gets skipped over and build my body and give it a little bit of a rest.”

Kemp, a third-year undrafted player who played college ball at Hawaii, has spent his pro career mainly as a special teams ace — he played in all 16 games last year — and is particularly adept on punt coverage. When he went down during the preseason, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy bemoaned the loss after Kemp had had a strong training camp. So, too, did Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub.

“When (Marcus) Kemp went down obviously there was a hole there and he kind of fills that hole there. He plays a lot of different positions and is a different type guy. He is a speed guy, is physical, but he brings a lot to the table for us, looks healthy and looks good out there,” Toub told Chiefs Wire.

Kemp is one of two former Utah high school football stars on this year’s Super Bowl rosters, but the other — Kansas City offensive tackle Jackson Barton — also won’t be playing Sunday, barring an injury to another lineman. The former Brighton High and Utah standout Barton is the Chiefs’ backup at right tackle but he’s has been inactive every week since Kansas City signed him to its active roster in November.

Still, Kemp is finding value in forging through the process of missing this chance to play in the Super Bowl.

“Obviously I want to be playing and especially since we’re in the Super Bowl you never want to miss out on anything like that. I’m going to look at the positive side and take this opportunity and make the best of it,” he told ESPN Honolulu.