The Kansas City Chiefs are six days away from opening up the 2021 season against the Cleveland Browns. Although it’s game week, Andy Reid still doesn’t know if one of his key defensive stars will be available.
All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu tested positive for COVID-19 last week and landed on the Chiefs reserve/COVID-19 list soon after, just 11 days before the season opener. Although he’s reportedly vaccinated, he’ll need to be asymptomatic and return back-to-back negative tests to re-join the team.
With that timeline, Mathieu would be able to return just before the Chiefs play the Browns this weekend. However, Reid told reporters on Monday that the team is staying cautious and waiting to see how the week plays out for the 29-year-old.
“We just have to wait that out and see where he’s at,” Reid said, via Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Tyrann Mathieu is still in the COVID-19 protocol: "We just have to wait that out and see where he's at."
— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) September 6, 2021
Mathieu is a focal point of the Chiefs secondary and the team would need to make some significant adjustments if he wasn’t able to suit up. Veteran Daniel Sorensen would still be available for Reid to use, but Juan Thornhill and Armani Watts would need to step up in a major way.
Over the last two years, Mathieu has blossomed into one of the top safeties in the NFL. Since signing with the Chiefs in 2019, he has 137 tackles, 21 pass breakups and 10 interceptions. He’s also earned First Team All-Pro honors in both years.
The Chiefs should have a more definitive idea about Mathieu’s availability as the week continues on. With or without him, Kansas City will need to be prepared to pay a talented Browns team on Sunday afternoon.
Kick-off from Arrowhead Stadium is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. ET.