Chiefs optimistic TE Travis Kelce, DT Chris Jones will be back available Sunday in Jacksonville
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs are trending toward having their two 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. Just hours later, the club also announced that defensive tackle Chris Jones had agreed to a new one-year deal that should end his holdout and put him in line to play against the Jaguars.
“Chris is an elite player in this league, and over the last seven years, he’s really developed into a leader on our team,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said in a statement. “He’s been instrumental to our success and Super Bowl championship runs and it was a priority for us to keep him in a Chiefs uniform.”
Kelce hurt his knee in the Chiefs’ final practice before Thursday night’s loss to Detroit. Tests showed there was no ligament damage, only a bone bruise and some swelling, and Kelce tried to get loose enough to play in the season opener. Chiefs coach Andy Reid and trainer Rick Burkholder ultimately made him inactive 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 Jones, who had taken his contract holdout into the regular season and wound up watching the opener alongside his agents, Jason and Michael Katz, from a suite inside Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs did not disclose the terms of his new deal, but a source told The Associated Press no years were added to his four-year, $80 million deal due to expire. The person, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deal, said it instead includes incentives to substantially increase what Jones will make this season.
Jones forfeited a $500,000 workout bonus, accumulated $50,000 in fines for each day missed of mandatory minicamp and training camp, and lost about $1.1 million in his first game check for sitting out the game against Detroit.
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