Another day, another day of COVID-19 updates for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs had good news and bad news on the COVID front on Friday, first with a tight end coming off the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
The #Chiefs are getting TE Blake Bell back off the COVID-19 reserve list, source said. They still have tomorrow to get Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce and others back.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 24, 2021
That means that (at the time of this writing), the Chiefs will have at least two tight ends available to play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in veteran blocker (and quarterback sneaker) Blake Bell and rookie Noah Gray. Unfortunately, the tight end they’re waiting for is the five-time All-Pro in Travis Kelce. His potential activation will have to wait until Saturday.
In the practice look, friend-of-the-site Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star noticed Bell — and something else: Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend was not on the field.
Just getting off practice field. Blake Bell (81) is back to work, a sign he’s off the COVID-19 list.— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) December 24, 2021
Didn’t see P Tommy Townsend out here. Chiefs had two punters present, though: Johnny Townsend and Joe Charlton. pic.twitter.com/3Mnth2b400
That is because Townsend was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday. That means the Chiefs will be rolling with Johnny, his older brother, or Joe Charlton, a 2020 undrafted free agent out of South Carolina. As another friend-of-the-site, Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest, noted that Charlton held kicks for Sunday’s kicker, Elliot Fry, in college.
The Chiefs have signed P Joseph Charlton to the practice squad, per source. That fills the only remaining slot on the PS. He's an ideal candidate for elevation on Sunday, he held for kicks for Elliott Fry when the two played together at South Carolina.— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) December 24, 2021
With starting kicker Harrison Butker and Tommy sidelined, James Winchester is in line to be the only consistent specialist for the Chiefs on Sunday.
“They got a couple reps in today and we’ll see how that goes,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid of the specialists on Friday. “I’ve got confidence that they’ve done both. I think we should be okay. I’m glad our snapper is intact right now.”
How the Chiefs handle their Reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday will be interesting. Players eligible to play need to be activated to the 53-man roster by 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time on Saturday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will test through the COVID protocol by Sunday.
The real item to watch is the inactive list on Sunday, which is revealed about 90 minutes before the game time, which is 3:25 p.m. Arrowhead Time.
Updated Reserve/ COVID-19 list
At the time of this writing, here are the rest of the players still on the Chiefs’ Reserve/COVID-19 list: Butker and Kelce (all added to the list on Monday), linebacker Nick Bolton, cornerback Rashad Fenton, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, offensive linemen Kyle Long and Lucas Niang and safety Armani Watts (all added to the list on Tuesday).
Wide receivers Gehrig Dieter and Daurice Fountain and linebacker Darius Harris remain on the practice squad Reserve/COVID-19 list. Offensive lineman Mike Remmers had also been moved from injured reserve to the Reserve/COVID-19 list.