Chiefs’ Robinson, Kilgore on COVID-19 list as close contacts

The Big Game

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson dives for extra yardage during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs placed a pair of backups, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and center Daniel Kilgore, on the COVID-19 list as close contacts Monday as they begin final preparations for the Super Bowl against Tampa Bay.

Chiefs coach Andy said he was told of the situation Sunday but could provide no other information.

Neither of the players actually tested positive for COVID-19, which means Robinson — a regular contributor — and Kilgore could still play in the Super Bowl. Both would need to return negative tests throughout the week to get off the list.

“The NFL has done a great job with it, presenting different safety things for the players to stay as safe as possible,” Reid said. “We’ve been hammering this point home forever. The problem is you’re fighting the invisible man. It just gets you when least expected, and we’re seeing that in everything. It’s an unfortunate thing.”

The Chiefs have been largely clear of COVID-19 outbreaks this season, though several players have missed games after testing positive. They also are not changing the way they conduct business within their facility leading up to the game.

The big difference: Rather than heading to the site of the Super Bowl a week in advance, like they did last season, the Chiefs will fly to Tampa, Florida, the day before the game in an attempt to minimize contacts among players and the public.

“These guys were being as safe as they could be,” Reid said, “and we’ll just see how it goes. But the league has built-in rules and regulations, so we follow those, and it’ll all work out. It’ll all work out for them when it’s all said and done.”

Kilgore started four games earlier this season when center Austin Reiter missed three games to an injury, and when the Chiefs rested their starters in Week 17 with the AFC’s top seed already secured. He also played some special teams snaps against the Buffalo Bills in the conference championship game.

Robinson appeared in every game this season, setting career highs with 45 receptions for 466 yards to go with three touchdown catches. He also can return kicks and punts and helps out with other special teams units.

“Obviously D-Rob is a big part of our offense and hopefully he’s out there with us,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “If not, we have guys that can step up. We’ll just prepare to be the best team we can be.”

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