Le’Veon Bell won’t be introducing himself to Chiefs fans when Kansas City takes the field for Week 6 of the 2020 NFL season.
Bell became a member of the reigning Super Bowl champs on Thursday when he agreed to a one-year contract with them. He joined KC after being released by the Jets earlier in the week. But he’ll have to watch as the Chiefs take on the Bills on Monday night in Orchard Park, N.Y. (5 p.m. ET, Fox.)
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There’s a specific reason why Bell can’t suit up in Chiefs red and gold for the contest.
It has to do with NFL guidelines that are specific to the 2020 season. Here’s a quick rundown:
Why can’t Le’Veon Bell play Monday night for the Chiefs?
Le’Veon Bell can’t play for the Chiefs in a key AFC game against the Bills because he needs to clear the league’s COVID-19 protocols before he can begin work with his new team. Bell needs to test negative for five days before he can enter the Chiefs’ facility, according to the testing section of the protocols (“POC” stands for point-of-care):
Pre-Entry Testing: Six (6) negative tests, one of which may be a POC test on the day of entry, each taken after the player arrives in the club city and 24 hours apart, before he may enter the club facility to either try out with or join the club for in-person team activities (on Day 6).
If Bell arrives in Kansas City on Friday and begins testing, then the earliest he could begin working with the Chiefs, according to the above testing regimen, is Wednesday, Oct. 21, assuming all his test results come back clean.
When can Le’Veon Bell begin playing for the Chiefs?
The earliest Le’Veon Bell can play for the Chiefs is Sunday, Oct. 25, when Kansas City is scheduled to face the Broncos in Denver. If he needs more time, either for testing or preparation reasons, then the next possible debut date is Nov. 1 when the Chiefs play the Jets.
Who will be the Chiefs’ main running back while Le’Veon Bell is sidelined?
Kansas City can stay with rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has started all five of the team’s games this season. Edwards-Helaire has struggled since a stellar debut in Week 1, however, rushing for 206 yards total over the past four games. The Chiefs also have Darrel Williams, who has 11 carries and six receptions this season. Kansas City could get rushing production from quarterback Patrick Mahomes (24 carries) and wide receiver Tyreek Hill (six carries, 8.2 yards per carry), as well.
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