The Los Angeles Chargers today activated linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr., from Reserve/Injured; Designated for Return. In a corresponding move, the team placed cornerback Ryan Smith on Reserve/Injured. Los Angeles also activated linebacker Cole Christiansen (standard elevation) wide receiver Maurice Ffrench (standard elevation) and cornerback Kiondre Thomas (COVID-19 elevation) for Sunday's game.
Selected by the Chargers at No. 23 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, Murray has 126 tackles (79 solo), six tackles for loss, three passes defensed and a four-yard sack over his first two seasons. He set the franchise record for tackles by a rookie, posting 107 last season, and has recorded 19 tackles (11 solo) and a tackle for loss in three starts this year. In his final season at Oklahoma, Murray earned first-team All-Big 12 recognition and ended his Sooners career with 335 tackles and 9.5 sacks.
Christiansen has appeared in five games for the Chargers over the last two seasons. A two-time All-Independent recipient, Christiansen posted 275 tackles (153 solo), 3.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss in four seasons (2016-19) at Army. He served as a team captain as a junior and senior and added an interception, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles and a recovery.
Ffrench made his NFL debut for the Chargers last week as a standard practice squad elevation. He is a first-year player out of Pittsburgh and spent the 2020 season on the Kansas City practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent. In four seasons for the Panthers, Ffrench totaled 156 catches for 1,637 yards (10.5 avg.) and 10 touchdowns. As a returner, he returned 27 kickoffs for 652 yards (24.1 avg.) and two touchdowns while adding 28 punt returns for 164 yards (5.9 avg.). Ffrench earned third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as a senior after posting a program-record 96 catches on the season and hauling in a 96-yard touchdown as the longest catch in school annals.
Thomas, who also made his professional debut last week for the Bolts as a standard elevation, was signed to the Los Angeles practice squad in September after spending the offseason with Cleveland. He signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State. Thomas played the 2020 season for the Wildcats after spending three years (2017-19) at Minnesota. In 40 career games at the collegiate level, he totaled 102 tackles (86 solo), an interception, 11 passes defensed, a forced fumble and a recovery.