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Chiefs Add Tyreek Hill, Nick Bolton, Five Others to COVID-19 List

Seven active-roster Chiefs were added to KC's COVID-19 list on Tuesday, including Tyreek Hill, Nick Bolton and Lucas Niang.

The Kansas City Chiefs are adding seven more active players to the reserve/COVID list on Tuesday, including wide receiver Tyreek Hill, linebacker Nick Bolton, right tackle Lucas Niang, offensive lineman Kyle Long, safety Armani Watts, cornerback Rashad Fenton and tight end Blake Bell.

As reported by Field Yates of ESPN, all seven players tested positive for COVID.

These Chiefs are the latest additions to the team's growing reserve/COVID list, putting Kansas City down multiple superstars and starters heading into the last weeks of the 2021 regular season. 

Tuesday's group joins tight end Travis Kelce, cornerback Charvarius Ward and kicker Harrison Butker on the list after all three were added on Monday. Along with defensive tackle Chris Jones, linebacker Willie Gay Jr., and wide receiver Josh Gordon, the Chiefs had six active-roster players on the reserve/COVID list before Tuesday's news, in addition to practice squad wide receiver Gehrig Dieter. Later, Charles Goldman of Chiefs Wire tweeted that the team added practice squad wide receiver Daurice Fountain and linebacker Darius Harris to the list as well.

These moves leave the Chiefs without their two top tight ends, making rookie Noah Gray the team's only active player at the position. Kelce and Hill have both caught for more than 1,000 yards so far in 2021, with Mecole Hardman third in receiving yards with 506.

Andrew Wylie could return to right tackle if Niang misses Sunday's game, and the Chiefs' secondary would likely revolve around cornerbacks L'Jarius Sneed, Mike Hughes and Deandre Baker without Ward and Fenton.

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If Gay can return from the COVID list, he would rejoin Anthony Hitchens and Ben Niemann in Bolton's possible absence. However, none of these players are officially out for Sunday's game. 

The NFL updated its protocols following an explosion of positive COVID cases around the league last week, and the new procedures provide vaccinated players with a shorter path to return to the field after testing positive.

Wilton Jackson summarized the new protocols on SI.com:

On Thursday, the NFL announced that vaccinated players and staff who are asymptomatic for at least 24 hours can return as soon as the day after their initial positive test from one of the league‘s three options outlined in the memo.

Players can receive two PCR test results that are either negative or produce Cycle Threshold values of 35 or greater. Secondly, a player or team staff member can receive one PCR test result that is either negative or produces CT values of 35 or greater and a negative Mesa test result from a test taken within 24 hours of the PCR test. Both tests can be taken at the same time or less than 24 hours apart.

Thirdly, a player of staff member can receive two negative Mesa test results that may be taken concurrently but must be two separate swabs.

These protocols could open the door for the Chiefs to regain their top two pass-catchers and two of their top cornerbacks, but each passing day gives COVID-positive players less time to make that turnaround before game time.

The Chiefs are currently set to play the Pittsburgh Steelers at 3:25 p.m. CT on Sunday, December 26.

Read More: Tyreek Hill, Rashad Fenton, Blake Bell Join Kelce, Ward, Butker on COVID List