The elephant in the room for the Kansas City Chiefs heading into their season opener against the Cleveland Browns was the injury bug, specifically the playing status of safety Tyrann Mathieu.
After he was activated from the COVID-19/Reserve list on Saturday, Mathieu warmed up on the field Sunday but was not ruled good to go for game action, per James Palmer of NFL Network. Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported on Sunday morning that several factors went into the Chiefs' decision, including wanting to keep their star safety healthy for the long haul.
Mortensen then continued to explain the Chiefs' process further:
"If Matthieu plays, he'll be in limited packages, which impacts special teams. It also will be 90-degree hot & humid at Arrowhead Stadium so team is aware of injury risk and that Honey Badger is in contract year, facing 17-game regular season and they hope another Super Bowl run.
Cornerback Deandre Baker, defensive end Frank Clark, offensive linemen Austin Blythe and Laurent Duvernay Tardif and wide receiver Daurice Fountain will be missing in action for the Chiefs this afternoon. Clark comes off as a surprise, although his hamstring injury has been closely monitored by the team over the past couple of weeks.
For the Browns, Field Yates of ESPN reports that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will not make his season debut with the rest of the team after tearing his ACL last October. He was trending in the direction of being able to play but couldn't quite get deemed game-ready. The Browns will now be taking the field without one of their most talented players, among others as reported by Camryn Justice of News 5 Cleveland.