Chiefs HC Andy Reid discusses fluidity of current COVID-19 situation

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  • Kansas City Chiefs
    Kansas City Chiefs
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  • Pittsburgh Steelers
    Pittsburgh Steelers
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The Kansas City Chiefs, like many teams across the NFL, are dealing with a COVID-19 surge with the spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.

As of 3:00 p.m. CT on Wednesday, the Chiefs have 14 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, with two players officially activated from the list and returning to practice. Speaking to reporters following practice on Wednesday, Reid acknowledged the situation.

“Obviously, we have a bit of a COVID thing going around,” Reid began. “Some guys are in the protocol after that. Which, we understand, it’s league-wide and we get it.”

As a result of the outbreak, the team has reverted back to the type of schedule they used for meetings and practices a year ago. They’re making sure that they follow the league’s new COVID protocols as it relates to practices, meetings and so on. While not ideal, there is a semblance of comfort in the situation. They’ve been preparing as if anything can happen since COVID first impacted the 2020 NFL season.

“We’ve gone through this for two years now,” Reid said. “Anything is possible. We get it. The next guy has got to be ready to go. They’ve given us opportunities to be able to replace people with the number of practice squad and elevations and this and that. We just say, ‘Next man up,’ and roll and hope those guys get better.”

The “next man up” mentality is also something the Chiefs rely on in case of injury, which gives them a slight edge heading into this game. However, this level of preparation doesn’t just apply to healthy players. Everyone is staying prepared given the NFL’s new return-to-play protocols. With just one negative test needed, more players could potentially make their return from the Reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Sunday’s game.

“It’s the same way on the other side with the fellas,” Reid explained. “They’ve got to stay prepared too. They don’t know when they’ll test back in and so they’ve got to be ready to go that way too. You know, it’s a crazy thing that is in motion. Fluid, as you’d say.”

Along the lines of fluidity, Reid said he hadn’t heard of any discussions of the league potentially moving the game from Sunday. The NFL rescheduled three games in Week 15 in order to help mitigate the continued spread of COVID-19 among those teams. The Chiefs did not have any new COVID positive tests on Wednesday, and Reid says he feels comfortable with where the roster is currently at.

“We’re OK,” Reid said. “Listen, we’ve got plenty of bodies and guys who want to play. Nothing has really changed, we just plug the next person in and here we go, that’s kind of how we’re rolling right now.”

There’s a lot on the line with Kansas City in this upcoming game. Their Week 15 win gave them a two-game lead on the AFC West division and put them in sole possession of the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Despite the tough circumstances, Reid and the Chiefs have no panic heading into Week 16.

“We’ve just got to hang with it, make sure everybody prepares themselves and are ready to play,” he said.

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First injury report for Chiefs vs. Steelers, Week 16