Andy Reid delivers mixed messages on Eric Fisher

Eric Fisher wasn't out with a case of Watt-itis (2:40)

ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher discusses the rumors that Eric Fisher sat out Sunday's victory against the Texans to avoid J.J. Watt. (2:40)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Coach Andy Reid delivered mixed messages on right tackle Eric Fisher a day after the Chiefs opened the season by beating the Houston Texans.

Reid strongly defended Fisher, saying Fisher never told him or any of the coaches that he couldn’t or didn’t want to play in Houston because of his injured ankle. But Reid wasn’t as decisive when asked whether the starting job was Fisher’s when he is ready.

Reid hesitated after the question, then said, “Yeah. We’ll see on all that. That’s how this rolls. I’m hoping he can get back out there.’’

That brings up the possibility the Chiefs could stick with Jah Reid at right tackle. The recently signed Reid started in Fisher’s place against the Texans. Another possibility is Jeff Allen, who has a knee injury and was inactive for the Houston game but could return soon.

The circumstances are different, but Reid set a precedent last year for benching an offensive lineman who missed some time. Donald Stephenson, who last year was starting at right tackle during training camp, was suspended by the NFL for the season’s first four games, and he ever got his job back.

That doesn’t seem to be Andy Reid’s intent with Fisher, who also missed the final three preseason games because of his sprained ankle. He initially was moved back into the starting lineup at practice last week before the Chiefs pulled him in favor of Jah Reid.

The Chiefs play against the Denver Broncos Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium. Reid said he wasn’t sure whether Fisher could play.

"These things, they’re nagging and so everyone is different,’’ he said. “I’m just going to play it by ear and see how things roll here. Until he can push off or I feel he can do that, I can’t put him out there at all.’’

As for the decision not to play Fisher in Houston, Reid said the decision was all his and that Fisher never asked out.

“I can help clear that up for you,’’ Reid said. “That’s an absolute no. He didn’t go to any coach. I know things are out there and I think it’s ridiculous. I was the one that watched him practice and I thought if I put him out there I’m going to be putting him in a terrible situation. The kid has worked his tail off to make it and it’s not going to work. It was that simple. I pulled him out and I put the other kid in and tried to get as many reps as we could with him before it came time for the game and we went that direction.

“He was trying to push through this thing but there was just no way it was going to work.’’