KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs added three offensive linemen to the league’s Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday afternoon, including left tackle Eric Fisher, right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and backup lineman Martinas Rankin.
The trio joins two other Chiefs players on the COVID-19 reserve list along with wide receiver Mecole Hardman and defensive tackle Braxton Hoyett, who is a member of the club’s practice squad. The Chiefs have experienced a wave of coronavirus exposures or positive tests during the last month with fullback Anthony Sherman and defensive tackle Chris Jones on the list. The Chiefs also acknowledged that Rick Burkholder, the club’s vice president of sports medicine and performance, also tested positive earlier in November.
Placement on the COVID-19 reserve list indicates a player has either tested positive for the coronavirus or has experienced high-risk close contact with an individual who has tested positive. Players on the reserve list do not count against the club’s active roster, and they must remain in isolation from the remainder of the team until cleared to return.
NFL Network reports that both Fisher and Schwartz were added to the list through contact tracing. There is no indication as of yet for the source of Rankin’s addition to the reserve list.
Stays on the COVID-19 reserve list are not necessarily long if connected with contact tracing or a false-positive test result. Players placed on the COVID-19 list due to high-risk close contacts can return to the roster after five days of negative tests since the last contact with an infected individual.
For example, the club placed Jones on the list Nov. 5 due to a suspected close contact yet he returned to practice the following day after receiving clearance through the league’s high-risk close contracts protocol.
Schwartz has missed the past three games due to a back injury. Rankin has yet to play this season as he returns from a ruptured tendon in his knee suffered last season but the club returned him to the active roster on Nov. 10.
The potential absence of all three players poses a roster dilemma for the Chiefs in their Week 11 matchup at the Las Vegas Raiders. That would leave six offensive linemen on the active roster, with veteran Mike Remmers the only experienced tackle among the group. The Chiefs also carry three offensive lineman on the practice squad in veterans Danny Isidora and Byran Witzmann along with undrafted rookie free agent Darryl Williams.