Travis Kelce’s pleas for his teammate to return apparently fell on deaf ears.
Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones is still holding out, according to multiple reports Sunday. The 29-year-old was not spotted and is not expected at practice, which is considered a midweek practice ahead of the Chiefs’ regular-season opener against the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.
Jones is entering the final year of a four-year, $80-million deal. All offseason, he has been maneuvering for a long-term agreement, reportedly in the neighborhood of $30 million per year.
The 53-man roster deadline passed Tuesday, and Jones was placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list.
The star defensive lineman has accumulated millions in fines for missing training camp and all three preseason games. He stands to lose around $1.1 million for each regular-season game he misses. But he has publicly said that he is willing to hold out until Week 8, and his absence ahead of Week 1 seems to support that claim.
MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes spoke to reporters about the situation ahead of Sunday’s practice. “At this point, you prepare to win the game with the guys in the building,” he said, per The Athletic’s Nate Taylor.
Head coach Andy Reid offered a similar sentiment:
“You’re never sure how it’s going to work out. You deal with too many people in this type of thing,” he said, via The Associated Press. “These things can go any direction. I don’t want to spend too much time on it,” Reid added. “We had 90 guys in the offseason that I was making sure were going in the right direction, and now we’re getting ready to play a game. That’s how I go about it.”
In Jones’ absence, the Chiefs are expecting some potential returns. Reid told reporters he is optimistic about wide receiver Kadarius Toney and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed’s availability for the opener. Toney had surgery to treat a torn meniscus that kept him sidelined for most of training camp. Sneed has been out for more than a month due to knee swelling.