With the start of the NFL season four days away, positive COVID tests could become a huge setback to the start of the season.
The Cowboys are set to play the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night, but a concerning development was reported by the Dallas Morning News on Sunday: Nine players have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list in 16 days. Six of those players have tested positive for COVID and three were close contacts.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Right guard Zack Martin experienced flu-like symptoms and taste loss when he tested positive on Saturday. Although Martin is fully vaccinated he will be out for the season opener.
If players are vaccinated and contract the virus, they can come back in a few days if they don’t show any symptoms and have two negative tests, 24 hours apart. If they are unvaccinated and come in close contact with someone who tested positive, the trio will need five straight days of negative tests before they could return.
If any one of the athletes is both unvaccinated and tested positive, then he is going to have to sit for a significant period. They must be isolated for 10 days at a minimum.
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, safety Damontae Kazee, Left guard Connor Williams, and wide receiver Noah Brown were the other positive tests over the 16 days. This also included defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
The three close contacts were safety Malik Hooker, safety Israel Mukuamu and offensive lineman Brandon Knight.
The NFL hasn’t released anything yet on the status of Thursday night’s game or if it could change due to a significant outbreak. Even though NFL players are 93 percent vaccinated, caution is still warranted when you have an increased amount of cases on one team.
With all the variants of COVID mutating day by day, the importance of limiting spread should still be a priority for the league.