The Kansas City Chiefs added three players to their 53-man roster and Week 16 injury report with the hopes that they can clear COVID-19 protocols in time to start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers: linebacker Nick Bolton, tight end Travis Kelce and offensive lineman Lucas Niang.
All will be deemed questionable until the Chiefs have the results of their COVID tests on Sunday. That means kicker Harrison Butker, cornerback Rashad Fenton, offensive lineman Kyle Long, punter Tommy Townsend and safety Armani Watts can officially be considered out for the game — they remain on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list.
We have added the following players to the injury report for Saturday, Dec. 25:— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 25, 2021
LB Nick Bolton – Not Injury Related (Other) – Questionable
TE Travis Kelce – Not Injury Related (Other) – Questionable
OL Lucas Niang – Not Injury Related (Other) – Questionable
The news that wide receiver Tyreek Hill cleared COVID protocols broke earlier on Saturday afternoon (more on that here).
We have activated WR Tyreek Hill from Reserve/COVID. He has cleared protocols and has no injury designation for Sunday.— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 25, 2021
We have activated the following practice squad players via COVID replacement:
DB Dicaprio Bootle
TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart
DB Josh Jackson
P Johnny Townsend
With no injury designation for Hill, he is expected to play. Defensive back Dicaprio Bootle, tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart, defensive back Josh Jackson and punter Johhny Townsend have been activated via COVID replacement.
Bootle and Jackson make sense with Fenton and Watts out, Griffin-Stewart gives the Chiefs three tight ends (along with Blake Bell and Noah Gray) if Kelce is inactive and Johnny Townsend, Tommy’s older brother, will punt for the Chiefs. All four players should revert to the practice squad on Monday.
Offensive lineman Andrew Wylie is expected to start at right tackle if Niang cannot clear the protocol on Sunday, and at this point, he may, anyway. Wylie has been taking the on-the-field reps there this week and he has four starts at right tackle this season.
The Chiefs also announced they would likely be missing several coaches on Sunday due to COVID-19: quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Kafka, running backs coach Greg Lewis and assistant offensive line coach Corey Matthaei. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and others will fill the roles of Kafka and Lewis, and various coaches will fill the role of Matthaei.