KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs are trending toward having at least one of their missing All-Pros on Sunday in Jacksonville.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday that tight end Travis Kelce, who hyperextended his knee in practice last week, has been progressing in his recovery. He wanted to play in Thursday night's loss to Detroit, but Reid and Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder decided to make him inactive for the season opener after a workout earlier in the day.
"Travis is getting better," Reid said. “We'll see how he does the rest of today or tomorrow and we'll go from there.”
The Chiefs could certainly use their star tight end after their offense fizzled in the 21-20 loss to the Lions.
Without his security blanket, reigning NFL league MVP Patrick Mahomes was just 21 of 39 for 226 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception. The pick bounced off the hands of Kadarius Toney, who had several of the eight drops by Kansas City receivers, and was returned by 50 yards for a touchdown by Lions rookie Brian Branch.
Meanwhile, backup tight ends Noah Gray and Blake Bell combined to catch five passes for 43 yards.
“We'll get the receiving things taken care of. I feel good about the receivers we have,” Reid said on a zoom Monday with local reporters. “We are not normally guys that drop the ball but we did and we have to fix it. But I think there is talent that will just keep improving as they continue to play. I have seen them do it before. I think we'll get that worked out.”
The Chiefs have had some extra time after playing Thursday night. The Jaguars won 31-21 on Sunday in Indianapolis.
“We've all got to do better. That's the thing I took out of this,” Reid said, “whether it's coaching, it's playing, the O-line, the D-line — we can all take something out of this game and get better at it. There were spurts of good and there were spurts of not-so good, and we were in position to win the game. Normally we do that and we did not.”
Watching it all transpire was All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones, who has taken his contract holdout into the regular season and witnessed the opener alongside his agents, Jason and Michael Katz, from a suite inside Arrowhead Stadium.
Jones is in the final year of a four-year, $80 million contract, but if the sides do not reach an agreement, the Chiefs could franchise him next year as well. In the meantime, he has forfeited a $500,000 workout bonus, been fined $50,000 for each day missed of mandatory minicamp and training camp, and is now losing about $1.1 million in game checks for each one he misses.
“I really don't have much of an update for you there,” said Reid, who has declined to say whether he has been involved in the negotiations. “There is communication going on. That is a plus. (General manager) Brett (Veach) is taking care of all of that."