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Report: Travis Kelce, two other Chiefs being placed on Reserve/COVID-19 list

...but the Chiefs are reportedly ‘optimistic’ that they could test out by Sunday.

Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs are placing tight end Travis Kelce on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Kicker Harrison Butker and cornerback Charvarius Ward are also headed to the Reserve/COVID-19 list, according to the league’s official transaction report. Practice squad wide receiver Gehrig Dieter was added to the Reserve/COVID list on Saturday.

ESPN’s Field Yates added that a total of 47 players had been added to their teams’ COVID lists on Monday.

Since Kelce is vaccinated, there is a decent chance he could still suit up to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

The NFL’s new protocol — agreed to over the weekend — helps Kelce’s case.

The biggest alteration is NFL players who test positive for COVID can now get back into their team facilities as quickly as one day later if they meet this standard: If a player has been previously vaccinated and is asymptomatic for a period of 24 hours, they need only one negative test and one negative rapid-result swab to return to team activities. Under this new guideline, players can also begin re-testing immediately following the 24-hour asymptomatic period. Previously, vaccinated players who tested positive for COVID could begin retesting only after a five-day period and required two negative test results.

The Chiefs have two other tight ends on the active roster — Blake Bell and Noah Gray — plus two on their practice squad: Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Mark Vital. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid likes to have the option for multiple-tight end sets, so it’s likely one of those players is called up in the case that Kelce has to remain on the list through the weekend.

Kelce’s importance in the Chiefs’ offense is obvious — he’s had more than 80 receptions for more than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He was the hero of last week’s Thursday Night Football game, as his 34-yard touchdown in overtime clinched a 34-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Chiefs have four other cornerbacks on their active roster, including L’Jarius Sneed, Mike Hughes, Deandre Baker and Rashad Fenton. They have three more defensive backs on their practice squad.

The Chiefs signed placekicker Elliot Fry to their practice squad last week — and on Monday, he was activated to the roster. Meanwhile, tight end Jody Fortson — who was moved from injured reserve to the Reserve/COVID list on December 10 — was moved back to the Reserve/Injured list on Monday.

Kelce, Ward, Butker and Dieter joined Chris Jones, Willie Gay Jr. and Josh Gordon to make seven Chiefs players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, though the Chiefs are optimistic that Jones, Gay and Gordon will return for Sunday’s game. The Chiefs will need to see how midweek testing goes for Kelce and Ward. Butker is unlikely to play, which is why the Chiefs moved Fry to the 53-man roster.

We’ll keep you posted.