Chiefs Head to Home Stretch Among Healthiest NFL Teams

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Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (25) celebrates after scoring on a touchdown as teammate Joe Thuney (62) watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, December 12, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

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Patrick Mahomes remained in constant communication with Travis Kelce last week, when the Chiefs tight end tried to test COVID-19 protocols in time to play an important game against the Steelers.

The Chiefs quarterback was still in touch with Kelce on Monday, when the team gathered at the facility to rewatch the movie of a 36-10 Pittsburgh scraping that saw Kansas City clinch their sixth title. back-to-back AFC West.

“He was still annoyed that he couldn’t be back in the building,” Mahomes said.

Well, the Pro Bowl tight end was back on Wednesday – with everyone else who tested positive for the virus last week, totaling 16 players on the active roster and the practice squad.

In fact, the only person who didn’t make it to Wednesday’s practice was running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who injured his collarbone against Pittsburgh.

The fact that the Chiefs are among the healthiest teams in the NFL is one of the many reasons they’ve gone from an example of mediocrity 3-4 in the first two months of the season to eight straight wins and to the definition of excellence.

Yes, they don’t have anyone on the COVID-19 list right now. But they hardly have anyone on the injured list either.

Unlike last season.

The Chiefs were so ravaged by injury a year ago, especially when the playoffs rolled around, and they were forced to form a mishmash of offensive linemen.

Perhaps the result would have been the same if their best group had played against the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl that February night, but the substitutes were tightly handled by the Tampa Bay pass rush that no one wants to replay. this humiliating game movie.

Fast forward almost 11 months, however, and the Chiefs’ injury report for the past few weeks had a couple of names – usually something minor that kept the guys from being full participants in a session. ‘coaching.

Meanwhile, injury reports elsewhere in the NFL often have a dozen or more names, and often multiple players who haven’t trained at all.

Even on the rare occasion that someone gets slashed, things seem to be going well for the chefs.

This was the case against the Steelers, when defenseman Tyrann Mathieu fine-tuned his quad in the second half. The Chiefs had a big lead at the time, giving coach Andy Reid the opportunity to hold Mathieu out for the rest of the way.

“You know what? He feels great,” Reid said Wednesday. “We took him out and the coaches started working on him the next day, and he came back and he was great. We all know that is. a tough kid and loves to play. At this point in the game we had enough head start to start and boy did that make a huge difference.

Edwards-Helaire is another example.

There were initial fears the dynamic running back broke his collarbone against Pittsburgh and would miss the remainder of the season.

But further testing on Monday revealed no structural damage, and while Edwards-Helaire is unlikely to be cleared to play this week, he will almost certainly be available by the time the playoffs begin.

Maybe the injury karma of last season and this season is fading.

“We have a lot of competition in this room,” said Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, one of the few starters to miss a game due to an actual injury – and later COVID-19 – over the course of. this season. “I think the mood at the end of the year is going to continue to rise, especially for the playoffs, and we’ll see where that takes us.”

NOTES: Reid has confirmed that linebacker coach Matt House is leaving to be the defensive coordinator at LSU. But Reid also said House will coach until the end of the season. “He will be great for the Tigers. We have several on our team, ”said Reid. “They are excited for him.” … Reid was a longtime friend of John Madden, who died on Tuesday at the age of 85. “You realize how much he touched the football world and all of us,” said Reid. “He made our profession what it is today. I have made an honorable position of the coach. “

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