Updated: Dec 24, 2021
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
The Steelers travel to Kansas City this weekend to face-off against the AFC leading Chiefs (10-4), who are on a seven game winning streak. The Steelers will be without two starters, as rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth (concussion) and defensive lineman Chris Wormely (groin) have been ruled out for Sunday's game. Inside linebacker Buddy Johnson (foot) has also been ruled out.
Freiermuth suffered a concussion in the third quarter against the Titans on Sunday, and he wasn't able to practice all week. It's the second concussion that Freiermuth has suffered within the last month. Wormley suffered his groin injury against Tennessee as well, and rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk is expected to fill in for him.
Johnson was a full participant early in the week but was limited on Friday and has been ruled out for the second consecutive game. The Steelers could be thin at the inside linebacker position as Devin Bush and Marcus Allen are on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Along with Bush and Allen, offensive tackle Zach Banner was also placed on the COVID list on Wednesday. The Steelers placed defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs and running back Anthony McFarland Jr. on the list on Thursday.
The Steelers activated defensive tackle Montravius Adams from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday. Adams was placed on the list on Dec. 15.
Offensive lineman Kevin Dotson returned to practice this week, giving the Steelers a 21-day window to activate him from the reserve/injured list to the 53-man roster, or he would have to sit out the remainder of the season. Dotson was originally placed on the reserve/injured list on Nov. 20.
The Chiefs have no injury designations for Sunday, but they've been dealing with a COVID situation also, as they have several players on the list.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce, kicker Harrison Butker and punter Tommy Townsend are the big names for the Chiefs who are on the list. Since he's unvaccinated, Butker has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Steelers, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Elliott Fry will be the kicker for the Chiefs. Townsend has also been ruled out, and his brother Johnny Townsend will be the punter for Kansas City.
According to Adam Teicher, who covers the Chiefs for ESPN. Andy Reid said he wouldn’t hesitate to play some of the nine players on Chiefs’ Covid list against Steelers if they’re ready by Sunday. He wouldn’t say whether he would include Hill and Kelce in that category. “I’d have to talk to them and see how they feel,’’ Reid said.