The Kansas City Chiefs have reportedly placed safety Tyrann Mathieu on the Reserve/COVID-19 list just 11 days before their season begins against the Cleveland Browns. Mathieu has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
First reported by Field Yates of ESPN, the move could put Mathieu's status in jeopardy for Week 1 depending on Mathieu's vaccination status. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network was first to report that Mathieu has tested positive for COVID-19.
Mathieu's vaccination status could ultimately be a major factor in his availability for Week 1. Kevin Patra of NFL.com explains:
According to Thursday's memo, vaccinated players or staff who test positive and are asymptomatic can return to duty after two negative tests 24 hours apart. For non-vaccinated persons who test positive, the 2020 protocols remain in place, requiring a 10-day isolation.
If Mathieu is asymptomatic, he could return after two negative tests, as detailed above. If he is symptomatic, a best-case scenario would still stretch the 10-day isolation period to return with KC's first regular-season game 11 days away.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, McDowell tweeted that Mathieu did not have symptoms at that time.
A story from McDowell from June noted that Mathieu "recently sat with his teammates for a meal" to discuss the impact of the vaccine "from a football standpoint." More from McDowell's story:
Only those who have been vaccinated will be allowed to eat with teammates, or unmask inside the facility or skip daily testing. Those qualifications have an effect on a team’s bond, Mathieu explained, and so he’s hopeful Chiefs players follow through.
The Chiefs only have four safeties on their initial 53-man roster with Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, Daniel Sorensen and Armani Watts. On their initial practice squad, the team has rookie defensive backs Devon Key and Zayne Anderson, who could be gameday call-ups if Mathieu is unavailable against the Browns.