September 11th, 2021 at 4:54pm CST by Sam Robinson
The Chiefs will have the option of Tyrann Mathieu suiting up in Week 1. They activated the All-Pro safety from the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, but it is not yet a lock he will play Sunday.
Mathieu tested positive for the coronavirus Sept. 1, and NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo tweets the team wants to monitor its standout defender after this hiatus in order to ensure he’s good to go against the Browns. Mathieu officially will carry a questionable designation for Week 1, but Saturday’s activation certainly marks a good sign for his Sunday availability.
Andy Reid said this week Mathieu could play despite not practicing over the past week and change. Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo has essentially drawn up two game plans, per NFL.com’s James Palmer (Twitter link), based on Mathieu’s status. The Chiefs have capitalized on Mathieu’s versatility, with the Honey Badger’s 2019 signing playing a central role in elevating Kansas City’s defense from the bottom-tier unit it was in 2018.
Mathieu, 29, intercepted six passes last season and has 10 thefts in two years with the Chiefs. He is going into a contract year and poised to cash in again. With one bye available to teams under the league’s new playoff format, Sunday’s Browns-Chiefs matchup takes on greater importance. Mathieu being on the field will aid the Chiefs against the team that nearly upset them in last year’s divisional round. Mathieu intercepted a pass in that narrow victory.
Additionally, the Chiefs promoted defensive back Zayne Andersonfrom their practice squad and signed linebacker Elijah Sullivan to their 16-man taxi squad. Kansas City also released DB Shakur Brown from the P-squad.
Brown is among the more notable players in this bunch. After earning first-team All-Big Ten honors, Brown declared early with the expectation that’d be selected in Round 4 or 5. Instead, he watched as 250+ players heard their names called. Still, he’s likely secured a better-than-average UDFA signing bonus from the Steelers. Last year, Brown notched five interceptions in just seven games. For his Spartan career, Brown finished with 54 stops, two tackles for a loss, two sacks, 16 pass defenses, and one touchdown across 26 games.