The Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs meet in Week 1 in what many consider a potential AFC Championship preview. Both teams will be without key players at the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff, however. Cleveland has ruled out wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., while Kansas City will be without safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive end Frank Clark.
Beckham suffered a knee injury that prematurely ended his 2020 season in Week 7 against the Bengals. Although he looked ahead in his rehab at various points, the Browns were cautious with him during training camp and are electing to err on the side of caution. Beckham had been listed as questionable on the Friday injury report, but the decision was made during warmups to hold him out.
The LSU product had 23 receptions for 319 yards and three touchdowns in his second season with the Browns prior to the injury. In his absence, Cleveland is likely to turn a combination of wide receivers led by Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins and Anthony Schwartz.
Entering a contract year, Mathieu had missed practice all week on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He was activated from the list Saturday but deemed questionable to play in Sunday’s game. The 29-year-old is entering his third season with the Chiefs. Mathieu accumulated 62 tackles, six interceptions and a touchdown last season.
Clark had been dealing with a hamstring injury all week leading up to today’s game. In his second season with the AFC franchise, he recorded 29 tackles, six sacks and one fumble recovery. He has never missed more than two games during any of his six NFL seasons.
Cleveland also added kicker Chris Naggar, safety Grant Delpit, linebacker Tony Fields II, offensive lineman James Hudson III, offensive lineman Michael Dunn and defensive tackle Tommy Togiai. Kansas City’s inactive list also featured cornerback DeAndre Baker, offensive lineman Austin Blythe, offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and wide receiver Daurice Fountain.
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