The NFL is dealing with a host of COVID-19 issues coming down the final stretch of the 2021 regular season. We’ll be looking at the playoff contenders and how many of their players are on the reserve/COVID-19 list through the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Kansas City Chiefs dealt with considerable issues in Week 16, most notably missing tight end Travis Kelce while getting back wide receiver Tyreek Hill. It marked only the second time in his career Patrick Mahomes did not have Kelce on the field. The Chief activated Kelce, Nick Bolton, and Lucas Niang off the reserve/COVID-19 list in hopes they would pass their COVID tests on Sunday morning, but none of them did.
Here’s what the Chiefs COVID-19 absence list looks like. Kelce, Bolton, and Niang are not on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list but are still working to clear the protocol.
Chiefs COVID-19 list
NFL COVID-19 protocols
The NFL changed its policy on Tuesday, December 28 following the CDC’s adjustment. If unvaccinated, a player must miss a minimum of five days if a close contact or a positive test. If they have not shown symptoms for at least 24 hours at the end of that five days, they are eligible to be activated.
A vaccinated player does not need to quarantine if a close contact, but does if they test positive. A vaccinated player can test out sooner than the five days if he is asymptomatic for at least 24 hours by one of the following options:
- He receivers two BRL PCR test results that are either negative or produce Cycle Threshold (CT) values of 35 or greater; OR
- He receive one BRL 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 BRL PCR test. Both tests can be taken at the same time or less than 24 hours apart; OR
- He receives two negative MESA tests 24 hours after the initial swab was taken, but can be taken concurrently provided it’s two separate new swabs.