KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyrann Mathieu is inactive for the Kansas City Chiefs’ season opener against the Cleveland Browns.
Mathieu was placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list Sept. 1 after testing positive for the virus.
He had to test negative twice at least 24 hours apart, be symptom free and get cleared by the team’s medical staff before returning to the team.
The Chiefs announced Saturday that Mathieu was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list, but he did not make the 48-man active roster.
Juan Thornhill is listed as the Chiefs' starter in safety in Mathieu's absence.
Safety Zayne Anderson was elevated from the practice squad Saturday for the Browns game, a rematch of the Chiefs’ AFC Divisional win last season, presumably as insurance in case Mathieu couldn’t go.
Anderson, who will wear No. 39, is active.
Mathieu has 10 interceptions in two seasons with the Chiefs and is the leader of the secondary as well as the defense overall.
He’s not the only star player who will be absent.
Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) is expected to return this season after missing most of 2020 with a knee injury, but it won’t be Sunday against the Chiefs, according to multiple reports.
Donovan Peoples-Jones slide into the starting lineup with Beckham out. The Browns also announced that Greg Newsome II will start at corner in place of Greedy Williams, who has been nursing a groin injury but is active for the game.
Beckham and Mathieu are the biggest names on the inactive list ahead of the 3:25 p.m. kickoff.
Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark (hamstring), cornerback Deandre Baker and wide receiver Daurice Fountain also are inactive along with interior offensive linemen Austin Blythe (sports hernia) and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (hand), both of whom have been out several weeks injured.
Baker and Fountain are healthy scratches.
Veteran Alex Okafor or second-year defensive end Mike Danna will start in Clark's place at defensive end.
Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, who has been limited in practice with a hip injury this week, is active.
The rest of Cleveland’s inactives are safety Grant Delpit (hamstring), linebacker Tony Fields II (illness), tackle James Hudson III, guard Michael Dunn, kicker Chris Naggar and defensive tackle Tommy Togiai.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who retured to practice from an unspecified illness in a limited capacity Friday, is active for the game.