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Anthony Hitchens won’t play Sunday; Chiefs elevate three from practice squad

The team’s starting linebacker remains on the reserve/COVID list.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs have made their customary day-before-game roster adjustments before Sunday’s home game against the Atlanta Falcons, giving cornerback Deandre Baker and linebacker Omari Cobb standard elevations from the practice squad — and elevating wide receiver Gehrig Dieter from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement.

This means that starting linebacker Anthony Hitchens — who was placed on the team’s reserve/COVID list on Tuesday — will be unavailable to play against the Falcons.

The team’s other starting linebacker — Damien Wilson — is still recovering from a knee injury. He had been designated as out in the team’s final Week 16 injury report on Christmas Day. Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel has been on injured reserve since December 5. Even if he were available, the Chiefs have used him almost exclusively on special teams; he hasn’t had a defensive snap since the Week 2 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

So along with Cobb, the team will have to get by with linebackers Darius Harris, Ben Niemann and rookie Willie Gay Jr.

With wide receiver Tyreek Hill listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with a hamstring issue, Dieter’s elevation make sense. This is his third elevation to the active roster this season, which is only possible because Hitchens is currently on the reserve/COVID list. This is Baker’s second standard elevation. Unless the team still has a player on the COVID list, he will not be eligible for another in Week 17.

All three of these players will automatically be returned to the practice squad on Monday.

In addition, per the NFL transactions report, the Chiefs have signed offensive guard Patrick Omameh to their practice squad, making room there by placing linebacker Emmanuel Smith on injured reserve.

Omameh — now in his seventh year — joined the NFL as an undrafted free agent for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. The 31-year-old has played in 87 games — including 57 starts at both left and right guard — for the Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders waived him on December 14. The Saints then acquired him on waivers, but waived him again on Christmas Eve. He cleared waivers on Friday.