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Chiefs activate TE Jody Fortson from IR for AFC title game

The Kansas City Chiefs activated tight end Jody Fortson from injured reserve and relieved wide receivers Marcus Kemp and Ihmir Smith-Marsette from the practice squad for Sunday night’s AFC title game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The move to activate Fortson on Saturday was widely anticipated after the big, lean redzone threat showed no lingering issues from his elbow injury in practice this week. Fortson has not played since Dec. 18 against the Houston Texans.

He filled a roster spot that was already available after the Chiefs waived cornerback Chris Lammons.

The decision to elevate Kemp and Smith-Marsette gives the Chiefs insurance on the wide receiver. Justin Watson was questionable on final injury report due to illness while speedster Mecole Hardman has been dealing with a pelvis injury that landed him in IR and kept him out of the lineup since Nov. 6 against the Tennessee Titans .

When asked if Hardman could play this week, Chiefs coach Andy Reid replied, “Look, he’s got rid of it. I think he’s feeling better than he definitely was last week, so we’ll see how he fares.”

The Chiefs did not activate Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who like Fortson was slated to return from IR and has spent the past two weeks training. The running back hasn’t played since Nov. 20, and even then had given up time to seventh-round draft pick Isiah Pacheco, who will start his 13th straight game against Cincinnati.

Pacheco rushed 12 times for 95 yards in the Chiefs’ 27-20 win over Jacksonville last week.

Kansas City is hosting the AFC title game for the fifth time in a row, and it’s a rematch of last year’s championship game, when Patrick Mahomes and Co. blew an early 21-3 lead in a 27-24 loss at the overtime against the Bengals.

Mahomes has been in full training this week after spraining his right ankle against the Jaguars. However, he had no injury designation in Friday’s final report and the Chiefs expect Mahomes to start as usual.

“I think I got progressively better during the week, and I’ll try to continue to do that,” he said. “Keep that mindset and push it, but at the same time be ready to go whenever the game comes along.”

Associated Press report.

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