According to Monday’s NFL transaction report, the Kansas City Chiefs have added three tackles to the teams Reserve/COVID list: starting left tackle Eric Fisher, nominal starting right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and just-activated tackle Martinas Rankin.
Reminder: these three players being placed on the list does not necessarily mean that any have tested positive for the novel coronavirus; they can be placed there merely for coming into close contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus.
According to reports, this appears to be the case for both Fisher and Schwartz.
These three players join wide receiver Mecole Hardman and practice squad defensive tackle Braxton Hoyett on the team’s COVID list; both went on the list last week. As far as we know, neither of them has tested positive. During Monday’s press briefing, head coach Andy Reid said only that Hardman was “feeling good.”
Schwartz has already missed three games with a back injury; veteran offensive lineman Mike Remmers has been playing in his place. Whether the Chiefs had intended him to play on Sunday night against the Las Vegas Raiders is unknown.
Rankin was just activated to active roster last week, presumably fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered in last season’s Week 10 game against the Tennessee Titans.
Provided that their own tests come back negative, it remains possible that any (or all) of these players could be active for Sunday’s Raiders game. We have seen circumstances where it appeared the Chiefs put players on the COVID list as a precaution but returned them to the roster when their tests were negative —or perhaps when additional research indicated the players hadn’t been significantly exposed.
But now that the Chiefs have five players on the list — three of them on the offensive line — it should be noted that last week, the team asked the NFL to launch a COVID protocol-related inquiry with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
2/2 Concern is this is a violation of NFL-NFLPA protocols and the rep is not subject to same testing as players and personnel and regularly travels among clubs, per source. NFL and team believes this created unnecessary risk of exposure to players and staff. https://t.co/XG8b60qFUb— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 11, 2020
Schefter later added that the NFLPA had been made aware of the situation and took action. We do not know if this matter is directly related to the five Chiefs players who are now on the team’s COVID list.