Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu remains in concussion protocol and his status for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals is still uncertain. But coach Andy Reid said that Mathieu, a key cog in the Chiefs' secondary, is doing well and has a chance to play in what would be his third consecutive AFC title game, according to NFL Network’s James Palmer.
Mathieu exited in the first quarter of Kansas City's thrilling 42-36 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round after taking a blow to the helmet from teammate Jarran Reed's knee, and did not return. The Chiefs defense suffered in his absence on what was a big passing night, in a losing effort, for Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
The Chiefs are preparing for another top quarterback in the Bengals' Joe Burrow, making Mathieu's presence all the more important. Per Pro Football Focus, Mathieu is ranked as the No. 38 safety in the NFL this season, but his 75.4 grade in coverage ranked 17th.
Mathieu was the only Chief not to participate in practice on Wednesday. He was named to his fourth Pro Bowl this year after making 76 tackles, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries in the regular season.
- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (knee) and wide receiver Tee Higgins (thumb) were on the team injury report as full participants. Linebacker Keandre Jones (thumb) was also full-go, wide receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) and defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee) were limited and defensive end Cameron Sample (groin) was a DNP.
- Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said Wednesday that offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) is on track to play Sunday against the 49ers. Whitworth and safety Taylor Rapp (concussion) were each limited in Wednesday's practice. Wide receiver Van Jefferson (knee), offensive tackle Joe Noteboom (chest) and defensive lineman Greg Gaines (toe) did not practice.
- San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) did not practice Wednesday. "In Trent's mind, there's no way he's not playing," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters. "I know he believes he's playing and so do I. ... If he can he will." Running back Jeff Wilson also did not practice, while cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) was limited. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb) was a full-go, and his shoulder ailment is off the injury report. Wideout Mohamed Sanu was activated from injured reserve.
- Baltimore Ravens defensive back Anthony Levine announced he's retiring after 12 seasons.
- The Carolina Panthers promoted salary cap manager Samir Suleiman to vice president of football administration.
- Philadelphia Eagles guard Brandon Brooks announced he's retiring after 10 seasons.
- The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receiver KeeSean Johnson to a reserve/future contract. The team also signed safety Jarrod Wilson to the practice squad a day after releasing him from the active roster.