Everything seemed to be going as it normally does for Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Mitch Schwartz as the team prepared for its Week 6 Monday matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Then something odd happened.
The 31-year-old popped up on the injury report (back) for the team’s Saturday practice — and though he was given a full designation, he was only questionable for the game.
Schwartz then suited up for his 134th career start and played the first series. Obviously bothered by his back, he checked out of the game. Veteran Mike Remmers slid over from left guard to right tackle, and second-year lineman Nick Allegretti filled in at left guard.
The ultimate iron man for the first eight years of his career hasn’t played since, missing the last five games. The Chiefs did not place him on injured reserve at first — likely with hopes he could return sooner rather than later.
“We’ll just see,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said on Wednesday. “[Schwartz is] a smart kid — he’s been around a long time and he knows how he’s feeling and he’s a good communicator, so he keeps that open with the trainers and docs, so I think that that’s the most important thing right now. And then when he’s right, then we’ll get him back out there.
“We do that with every player. We’re not going to rush him back if he can’t go, and that’s why we expect the next guy to step in and play — and (Mike) Remmers is doing a nice job for us. He’s really stepped up and played well. That’s kind of how we go — we really have a lot of trust in Mitch. We know he’s a tough guy and he’s a good communicator on top of that.”
At least for the moment, Schwartz’s status does not sound promising. The bright side is the Chiefs do have some potential offensive line reinforcements on the roster in Martinas Rankin, who was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list in early November, and Stefen Wisniewski, who recently joined the team’s practice squad.