KC Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu returned to practice field Thursday ahead of AFC title game

Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu scored on a pick-6 against the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson early in their Sept. 19, 2021 game at Baltimore. (AP file photo)
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Chiefs coach Andy Reid had expressed optimism that safety Tyrann Mathieu would be back on the practice field Thursday.

A day later, Reid’s words proved prophetic.

Mathieu, who suffered a concussion in last Sunday’s playoff win against the Buffalo Bills, was able to practice on Thursday alongside his teammates as the Chiefs prepared for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.

He was observed going through stretching/conditioning and individual position drills during the brief period of the practice that was open to the media, and his presence on the field is a good sign that he could soon be cleared from the league’s concussion protocol.

Reid said Mathieu remains in the concussion protocol but would be tested again later Thursday afternoon.

“I thought he did a nice job, moved around well,” Reid said. “He was fine today, so he just has to go through the rest of the protocol here and finish that up, and make sure he’s OK as he goes through it.”

Mathieu was hurt in last weekend’s 42-36 overtime win against Buffalo in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs. And once he was knocked out of the game in the first quarter — by a teammate’s inadvertent knee to the helmet — the Chiefs sorely missed their defensive leader on the back end of coverage.

The Bills put together four big plays of 20 yards of more down the field, including two that went for touchdowns.

The Chiefs certainly need Mathieu against the Bengals’ offense this Sunday. Cincinnati’s talented rookie wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, went off against Kansas City on Jan. 2, with 11 catches for 266 yards and three touchdowns in their Week 17 meeting.

In other injury-related news for the Chiefs on Thursday, wide receivers Tyreek Hill (heel) and Mecole Hardman (hip), running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) and Darrel Williams (toe), defensive lineman Chris Jones (groin), linebacker Anthony Hitchens (back), offensive lineman Andrew Wylie (elbow) and cornerbacks Rashad Fenton (back), Charvarius Ward (neck) and L’Jarius Sneed (knee) were all observed on the practice field.

The Chiefs had listed everyone in the above group as full participants on Wednesday’s injury report.

Williams and Fenton are working their way back to the lineup after not playing in the AFC Divisional Round game against Buffalo.

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