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Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu still in concussion protocol, but Reid optimistic he'll play

Kansas City Star logo Kansas City Star 1/28/2022 Herbie Teope, The Kansas City Star
The Kansas City Chiefs' Tyrann Mathieu gestures to the fans during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 21, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri. © Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America/TNS The Kansas City Chiefs' Tyrann Mathieu gestures to the fans during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 21, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu practiced in full Friday for the second straight day but remains in the NFL's concussion protocol.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid did not sound overly concerned about that on Friday. He expressed optimism that Mathieu would eventually be cleared and thus be available for Sunday's showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium.

"We think he'll be ready to roll here in a day or so," Reid said. "We'll see (Saturday)."

While the Chiefs officially designated Mathieu as questionable on Friday's injury report, it appears he should be good to go, barring a setback. The Chiefs have a Saturday morning walk-through planned ahead of Sunday's game, so Mathieu's status against the Bengals should be known then.

The Chiefs missed Mathieu's leadership on the back end of coverage in last weekend's 42-36 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo revealed Thursday that the Chiefs' scheme against the Bills involved plays specific to Mathieu. Spagnuolo said the team had to adjust after the star safety left the game in the first quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.

Video: Rapoport: Tyrann Mathieu expected to play vs. Bengals in AFC Championship Game (NFL)

"We didn't play nearly the defense we wanted to when it was all said and done," Spagnuolo said. "But we navigated through it and fortunately for us, our offense made some plays and we're still playing football."

Mathieu is needed against yet another potent offense.

Led by quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals' offense finished the regular season ranked 13th in the league and seventh-best in terms of passing (259 yards per game). Burrow and rookie receiver Ja'Marr Chase blasted the Chiefs in Week 17, but Mathieu's presence could only aid Kansas City's game plan in this weekend's rematch. Chase racked up 266 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the previous matchup.

Reid didn't mention any other injuries Friday, a sign the entire teams was present on the practice field for the third straight day.

That means wide receivers Tyreek Hill (heel) and Mecole Hardman (hip), running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) and Darrel Williams (toe), defensive lineman Chris Jones (groin), cornerbacks Rashad Fenton (back), Charvarius Ward (neck) and L'Jarius Sneed (knee), linebacker Anthony Hitchens (back) and offensive lineman Andrew Wylie (elbow) put in work in some capacity.

Of that group, Williams was the lone participant designated as "limited" on Thursday's practice report. And Reid said that was by design.

"We're limiting him ourselves, not him limiting himself," Reid said. "We just don't want his toe to flare up, and it's been great so far. We want to keep it that way."

The Chiefs designated Williams as questionable on Friday's injury report, but Reid believes Williams, who didn't play in last weekend's AFC divisional round game, is "going to be OK" for Sunday's game against the Bengals.


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