NFL

Chiefs activate Mathieu off covid-19 list ahead of Browns game

The Kansas City Chiefs have activated All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu from the covid-19/reserve list, allowing him to play against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.

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Chiefs activate Mathieu off covid-19 list ahead of Browns game

The Chiefs, gunning for their third consecutive AFC title, designated him as questionable for the game after declaring him activated.

Although Mathieu has been cleared to join the game, it is still uncertain whether he will actually play against the Browns as he had missed a full week of practice. He was put on the covid-19/reserve list on Sept. 1 after testing positive for the virus.

Mathieu up to speed with game plan

The Chiefs had been preparing to play against the Browns with or without Mathieu. He had been attending the team’s virtual meetings, so he is up-to-date with the game plan.

According to Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager, the decision to let Mathieu play will be made at game-time. The team still wants to monitor him before deciding on whether he will play. The choice will likely be determined by how the star safety would be feeling, and his conditioning after spending time away from practice.

Complying with NFL covid-19 protocols

Mathieu had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. He could have returned to the field sooner if he had submitted two negative covid-19 tests 24 hours apart, as NFL protocols dictate for vaccinated players. But this didn’t take place until Saturday, which called into question his ability to play on Sunday.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro is starting his third season with Kansas, and is one of the Chiefs’ best defensive players. Mathieu played 15 games last year, racking up 62 combined tackles, nine passes defended, and a career-high six interceptions. He has only missed one game since he started playing for the Chiefs in 2019.

If Mathieu ends up not playing, Armani Watts is expected to start in his place. Watts has played in 37 games over his first three seasons and started once.