Travis Kelce Could Miss Chiefs-Steelers Game Due to Latest Roster News

Travis Kelce

Getty Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce is one of several recent Chiefs players to test positive for COVID-19.

Kelce, along with kicker Harrison Butker and cornerback Charvarius Ward were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, December 20, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

As Schefter notes in the above tweet, Kelce is vaccinated, which gives him the opportunity to test his way back into the lineup before Kansas City’s Week 16 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, December 26. This is thanks to the NFL’s revised COVID-19 protocols that came into effect during Week 15.

The vaccination status’ of Butker and Ward are unknown at this time.

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NFL Revises COVID Protocols in Week 15

The NFL and NFLPA announced a revised version of the COVID-19 protocols on Saturday, December 18, which will reduce the frequency with which vaccinated, asymptomatic players and personnel are tested.

​”The NFL and NFLPA have been engaged with our medical advisors to address the emergence of the new Omicron variant and how to stop the spread to ensure we keep everyone safe and complete the remainder of the season responsibly,” the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement.

“The intensive protocols implemented last week and the rescheduling of three games were designed to stop the transmission of the virus and play this week’s games safely. After this weekend’s games, we have agreed to put into place a new set of protocols, which will include a more targeted testing plan, more flexibility for players to attend meetings virtually and also a high-risk player opt-out for the remainder of the season.”

Under the former version of the COVID-19 protocols, players and personnel — regardless of their vaccination status — were tested every week. Under the new guidelines, vaccinated players and personnel will not be tested as frequently and instead will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Also, players are welcome to undergo voluntary COVID-19 testing whenever they would like, and teams will distribute home testing kits for their players and families to use, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

New High in NFL Positive Tests in Week 16

The three Chiefs players placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday were among the 51 NFL players placed on the list that day, per NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, which smashes the former high for player positives in the NFL on a single day, 36, previously set on Monday, December 14.

Since that Monday, 213 NFL players have tested positive for COVID-19, per Pelissero, which is nearly 10% of the entire league. However, “roughly” two-thirds of players that tested positive are asymptomatic, meanwhile, the other third of those players have mild symptoms.

​”Throughout the pandemic we have continuously evolved our protocols to meet our goal of advancing the safety of the players, coaches and staff. The changes we are making today aim to address the increase in cases and the advent of the Omicron variant,” the NFL said in a statement on Thursday, December 16.

“Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel. We will continue to strongly encourage booster shots as the most effective protection. Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19. All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach, with safety our number-one goal for the entire NFL community.”



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