The Chiefs could be without a major offensive weapon this weekend against the Steelers. Kansas City has placed star tight end Travis Kelce on the reserve/COVID-19 list, according to veteran reporter Herbie Teope (on Twitter). Kelce will be joined by kicker Harrison Butker and cornerback Charvarius Ward, who also landed on the list.
While Kelce’s placement on the list puts his status in doubt, it doesn’t definitively mean he’ll be sidelined on Sunday. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), Kelce is vaccinated, so he could be good to know this weekend considering the league’s new COVID protocols.
Butker, however, is unvaccinated and will miss Kansas City’s Week 16 game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Chiefs prepared for a potential Butker absence when they added Elliott Fry to the practice squad last week. Fry, who has bounced around in recent years without seeing much game action (one career appearance, in 2020), will kick against the Steelers.
Kelce is having another incredible season for Kansas City, hauling in 83 receptions for 1,066 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Despite missing almost all of his rookie season due to a knee injury, Kelce has been remarkably durable throughout his career. He has missed only a pair of regular-season games since 2014. If the veteran is sidelined against Pittsburgh, the team will likely turn to Blake Bell and Noah Gray at tight end.
The Chiefs might not be as prepared for Ward’s potential absence; the 25-year-old has started nine of his 10 games this season.