4 Chiefs Return to Practice as Andy Reid Addresses Outbreak

Andy Reid

Getty Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on December 16, 2021.

December 21 marked the first day of winter in 2021, also known as the shortest day of the year. For Chiefs Kingdom, it felt much longer.

After Monday night reports that Travis Kelce tested positive for COVID-19, Tuesday was filled with nothing but more bad news. When the dust settled, seven more Chiefs players had joined the COVID-19/reserve list.

They were: WR Tyreek Hill, TE Blake Bell, G Kyle Long, OT Lucas Niang, LB Nick Bolton, CB Rashad Fenton and CB Armani Watts.

At the time, eight Kansas City players were already on this list, including Kelce. The others were: WR Josh Gordon, WR Gehrig Dieter, TE Joe Fortson, DL Chris Jones, LB Willie Gay Jr., CB Charvarius Ward and K Harrison Butker.

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Wednesday Brings Better News

If Tuesday was technically the darkest day of the year in terms of sunlight hours, Wednesday had to be a little better, right? For Chiefs fans, it did provide some encouraging news.

First off, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that there were no new cases for KC this morning at 10:25 a.m. — a step in the right direction.

Next up was seeing some players return to practice. That occurred too, as beat reporter Herbie Teope provided the coverage in the afternoon.

“Just walking off [the] practice field. I saw LB Willie Gay Jr. (50) and WR Josh Gordon out here, a sign they are back from [the] reserve/COVID-19 list. CB L’Jarius Sneed is also back. Rookie DE Josh Kaindoh out on the practice field, a sign Chiefs designated him to return from IR,” he stated.

Later, Teope tweeted that head coach Andy Reid confirmed the return of all four of the players seen at practice.

Gay and Sneed are immediate starters when available and Gordon bolsters wide receiver depth with Hill sidelined for the moment. As for the 23-year old rookie, Kaindoh has appeared in three games but he has yet to record any statistics off 46 defensive snaps.

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Big Red Not Interested in Making Excuses

During his December 22 press conference, Reid addressed the media for the first time since the outbreak.

“Obviously, we have a little bit of the COVID thing going around and some guys are in the protocol there for that, which we understand. It’s league-wide, and we get it. We look forward to the challenge of playing Pittsburgh. We all had a chance to watch them and now we’ve had a chance to study them early here, and we understand they’re a good football team. So, we’ll get ourselves ready this week and prepared to play again against a good team,” the Chiefs HC began.

In terms of Kelce and Hill testing positive, Reid replied: ” The next guy has got to be ready to go. They’ve given us opportunities to replace people with the number of practice squad elevations… So, we just go next man up and roll and hope those guys get better. It’s the same way on the other side with [Kelce and Hill], they’ve got to stay prepared too. They don’t know when they’ll test back in, so they’ve got to be ready to go that way too. It’s a crazy thing that’s in motion, fluid as you’d say, so we’ve just got to hang with it and make sure everybody prepares themselves and is ready to play.”

You didn’t hear any excuses or complaints from Big Red though. He continued later: “We’re okay. Listen, we’ve got plenty of bodies and guys that want to play, so that’s how nothing has really changed. We just plug the next person in, and here we go. That’s kind of how we’re rolling right now.”

As for the possibility of another outbreak happening during the postseason, Reid noted: “We’re prepared if that happens. You can’t predict it. We went this long without it, so now we’re kind of working through it.”


At 4:36 p.m., one more Chiefs player was added to the COVID-19/reserve, per NFL insider Field Yates, but he had been inactive prior to this designation. That player was offensive tackle Mike Remmers, who was previously on the injured reserve.


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