Winners of seven consecutive single-possession games, the Kansas City Chiefs (14-1) have been trudging forward with a banged-up offensive line for the past few weeks. One key starter, right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, has been absent dating back to the team’s Week 6 win in Buffalo due to an ailing back injury.
Now, it appears a new timetable has emerged on when the defending Super Bowl champions might expect their All-Pro protector back — and it’s not exactly promising.
According to Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger on Monday, Kansas City is not expecting Schwartz to return to the lineup anytime soon, postseason included, despite locking up the AFC’s No. 1 seed and only first-round bye week on Sunday.
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Andy Reid Said Schwartz Was ‘Feeling Better’ Last Week
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid most recently provided an update on the 31-year-old’s status last Monday, saying that he would defer the decision to the team’s medical staff, per Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star.
“Yeah, he’s actually feeling a little bit better,” Reid told reporters during his December 21 press conference. “Not all the way back, but he is feeling a little bit better and we’ll just see I mean, we will take it – he’s a great communicator so we know he wants to play but just want to make sure you know that he’s ok and I kind of leave that up to the docs and Rick (Burkholder) on that and then obviously Mitch so. I don’t know that.
“We’re just kind of taking it day by day, week by week literally, and so we’re just seeing how he does here. Hopefully it calms down by then or whenever and he can get himself back out there. I mean, that’s what we’d like, but we’ll see how that all goes.”
Prior to this nagging back injury, Schwartz had started all 134 consecutive games since entering the league as a second-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2012.
Fortunately for Kansas City, veteran Mike Remmers, who had started eight consecutive matchups in place of Schwartz before being held out in Week 15 with a tight back, returned to action versus the Atlanta Falcons. With the change, Andrew Wylie slid back to his guard spot after filling in at right tackle last week.
Chiefs Sign Ex-Raiders O-Lineman to Practice Squad
In a round of transactions preceding Sunday’s 17-14 comeback victory over the Falcons, perhaps in anticipation of Schwartz’s extended absence, the Chiefs signed veteran OL Patrick Omameh to the practice squad. The team previously hosted the 6-foot-4, 327-pounder, who turns 31 on Tuesday, for an official visit back in mid-September.
The guard-tackle hybrid was most recently let go by the New Orleans Saints on Christmas Eve after his second stint in as many seasons. Prior to that, Omameh appeared in six games with the division rival Las Vegas Raiders earlier this season.
Now competing for a spot on his seventh team in eight seasons, he originally entered the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan. Omameh’s most lengthy stay was with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2016-18, but his other stops have included the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014), Chicago Bears (2015) and New York Giants (2018).
Omameh now joins fellow offensive linemen Bryan Witzmann and Darryl Williams on Kansas City’s practice squad.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!