Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens placed on COVID-19 list

NFL Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 12: Anthony Hitchens #53 of the Kansas City Chiefs is introduced prior to the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on January 12, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have been impacted by the coronavirus once again, forced to place a starting linebacker on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Per the NFL Transactions report, Anthony Hitchens was moved to the list on Tuesday.

Players can be placed on the list if they are simply exposed to a close contact with a positive test. It does not necessarily mean the player has tested positive.

Under the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol, players who are just exposed must test negative for five consecutive days before they can return to the team. The requirements and timeline extend if a player tests positive.

Possibly losing Hitchens in this Sunday’s game could be a hard hit to the Chiefs defense. Hitchens has started every game for Kansas City this season and has 78 tackles for the year.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo called Hitchens “the glue” last week, noting how much he does for the team.

“He helps everybody else play better. I’m sure glad we got him,” Spagnuolo said.

The Chiefs haven’t been hit as hard by the virus as some NFL teams, but Hitchens is certainly not the first player in the Kingdom to go on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Chiefs stars like Chris Jones, Mecole Hardman, Anthony Sherman and several others have also had to deal with the virus in some way or another.

Rick Burkholder, the Chiefs’ vice president of sports medicine and performance, also tested positive for the virus earlier in the season, according to multiple reports. The team confirmed a staff member tested positive but did not identify the employee.

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