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Chiefs COVID List Tracker: Latest On Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill

The latest reserve/COVID list activations for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Nearing the end of a week where the Kansas City Chiefs have dealt with an outbreak of COVID-19 within the team, some good and bad news has arrived in Kansas City as the team prepares to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Here are the latest updates on the Chiefs' reserve/COVID-19 list and who could be available when the Chiefs take on Pittsburgh.

Tyreek Hill returns, Travis Kelce out

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Tyreek Hill has cleared COVID-19 protocols. The star wide receiver will play on Sunday.

After activating Travis Kelce to the roster on Saturday in hopes of him clearing protocols by early on Sunday, the Chiefs learned that Kelce did not clear protocols and is out. Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the news.

For a more detailed explanation of the COVID-19 protocol process and what Kelce had to do in order to be cleared, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network outlines the process:

Explaining this: Under new protocols, a fully vaccinated player can be cleared with two negative tests taken concurrently (not 24 hours apart). So if Kelce tests out on game day, he can play. If he doesn't, he's inactive and #Chiefs are down a roster spot.

Another specialist down

Punter Tommy Townsend was placed on the reserve/COVID list on Friday, leaving KC without their starting punter and kicker. Townsend's brother, Johnny, was activated from the practice squad on Saturday afternoon via COVID replacement. Joining him are defensive backs Dicaprio Bootle and Josh Jackson, as well as tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart.

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Blake Bell brings back depth at TE

Tight end Blake Bell will return off the reserve/COVID list, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. At the time of the report, Bell joined rookie tight end Noah Gray as the only tight ends on the Chiefs' active roster, with Kelce's status now finalized and Jody Fortson on injured reserve. Without Kelce, Bell's return helps stabilize KC's tight end group.

Many key Chiefs remain on reserve/COVID list, Nick Bolton and Lucas Niang activated but out

Even with some players returning, the Chiefs still have a long list of players on the COVID list, including starters and key role players. The active-roster players remaining on the COVID list on Saturday morning included Kelce, Townsend, linebacker Nick Bolton, offensive tackle Lucas Niang, offensive lineman Kyle Long, cornerback Rashad Fenton, safety Armani Watts and kicker Harison Butker. Bolton and Niang joined Kelce as Saturday afternoon activations and additions to the Chiefs' injury report although none of them had produced a negative COVID test at the time of their listing on the report. Per Rapoport, neither Bolton nor Niang was able to clear protocols on Sunday morning and both are out for Kansas City's Week 16 matchup against Pittsburgh. That marks even more key Chiefs players who will be missing this week due to COVID-19 protocols.

Charvarius Ward's quick turnaround

Cornerback Charvarius Ward was the first Chief to return from the COVID list who tested positive this week. Ward, Kelce, and Butker were all placed on the list on Monday, and Ward made his return on Wednesday. Ward's return came shortly after cornerback Rashad Fenton was placed on the COVID list on Tuesday, bolstering KC's cornerback group. L'Jarius Sneed (personal) also returned to the Chiefs this week, giving KC two of their top corners back in time for Pittsburgh.

Chris Jones makes his return

After missing KC's Thursday Night Football game with the Los Angeles Chargers, defensive tackle Chris Jones returned on Thursday after his extended stay on the COVID list.

Willie Gay Jr., Josh Gordon back, Mike Remmers out

After missing KC's game against the Chargers, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. and wide receiver Josh Gordon also returned on Wednesday. The team added offensive tackle Mike Remmers to the COVID list, though Remmers is still on the injured reserve list.

Harrison Butker won't return this week

Kicker Harrison Butker will not play for the Chiefs this week due to his reported unvaccinated status. The Chiefs signed kicker Elliott Fry to the active roster where he is expected to make his Chiefs debut on Sunday. Fry made his one and only kick at the NFL level.

In their official Saturday update, the Chiefs revealed that quarterbacks coach/pass game coordinator Mike Kafka, running backs coach Greg Lewis and assistant offensive line coach Corey Matthaei will be unavailable on Sunday due to COVID protocols. Various members of the Chiefs' coaching staff — such as offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and a few others — will fill those respective roles against the Steelers.