Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, 2 others added to reserve/COVID-19 list

K Butker, CB Ward also land on COVID-19 list
Chiefs Chargers Football
Posted at 4:08 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 18:47:05-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fresh off his best game of the season, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

He was one of three Chiefs along with kicker Harrison Butker and cornerback Charvarius Ward who was added to the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.

The Chiefs, who host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, already signed kicker Elliott Fry off the practice squad, which he joined last week, as a replacement for Butker.

“I would tell you that I got used to it last year with all the sudden changes," Kansas City coach Andy Reid said Monday before the new positive tests results were made public. "I’m sure there are going to be some more. I look around at the different teams and they’re doing that. We’ve had a couple things last week where we had to make a couple sudden changes."

Kelce is vaccinated, so he could test out in time to play for Sunday against Pittsburgh at Arrowhead Stadium, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Kelce finished with 10 catches for a career-high 191 yards and two touchdowns, including the walk-off 34-yard score in overtime during a 34-28 win at the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football.

Three Chiefs players — defensive tackle Chris Jones, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. and wide receiver Josh Gordon — missed the victory at the Chargers after being added to the reserve/COVID-19 list.

“I’m hoping that they’re going to be there, but we’ve just got to see how it goes," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said when asked about the availability of Jones, Gay and Gordon against the Steelers. "There’s a matrix of things that you’ve got to work out, and that’s where (head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) comes in. I can’t sit here and tell you how all that works right now, but Rick can. He’s going to work through everything every day and see where we’re at, but it’s day to day as you go with these tests.”

Burkholder is Kansas City's point person for the NFL's new COVID-19 protocols, which included limited testing for vaccinated players on a spot basis.

Vaccinated players will only be tested if they are showing COVID-19 symptoms and also only need one negative test to return to the active roster after last week's changes.

Unvaccinated players must continue to test daily, though any player can volunteer for additional testing and all players will be provided at-home testing kits.

Kelce, who was selected to the Pro Bowl on Monday and finished third overall in fan voting, ranks second on Kansas City in receptions (83), receiving yards (1,066) and touchdowns (seven). He has recorded an NFL record six straight 1,000-yard seasons — to more than any other tight end in NFL history.

Ward ranks fifth on the Chiefs with 51 tackles and has allowed a 76.4 rating in pass coverage, which is second among the team's starting defensive backs behind only safety Tyrann Mathieu (67.0).