The NFL set an unfortunate record on Monday by placing a record with 106 players on the league’s COVID-19 list, nearly doubling the previous one-day mark.
All players have been tested positive for the virus, including 96, who were found infected during Monday’s screenings, according to the NFL Network.
The league and the players’ union are currently discussing new COVID-19 protocols following the CDC recommendation that the quarantine period for vaccinated individuals be reduced from 10 days to five, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. The NBA took a similar step on Monday, reducing the isolation times for vaccinated players to six days.
The NFL also requires booster shots for league media, which must receive the injection by Jan. 12 to apply for playoff and Super Bowl LVI credentials.
There will be several exceptions for media members, including:
- Those who are not eligible for a booster according to the CDC definition; or
- Those who have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days; OR
- Those who received monoclonal antibodies within the immediately preceding 90 days
A fan holds up a sign that says “We hate COVID! Go Browns!” in the second half of the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Raiders on December 20 in Cleveland
The NFL and the players’ union are currently discussing new COVID-19 protocols following the CDC’s recommendation that the quarantine period for vaccinated individuals be reduced from 10 days to five. The NBA took a similar step on Monday, reducing the isolation times for vaccinated players to six days
FOX sideline reporter Erin Andrews interviews Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) after the Oct. 10 game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. The NFL also requires booster shots for league media, which must receive the injection by Jan. 12 to apply for playoff and Super Bowl LVI credentials
The Carolina Panthers sent all their players home from Bank of America Stadium after another six players tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.
That brings the total number of Carolina players on the COVID-19 list to 13.
Defensive end Brian Burns, linebacker Shaq Thompson, defensive end Marquis Haynes, defensive tackle Phil Hoskins, center Matt Paradis and defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon all tested positive on Monday. Paradise and Nixon were already on injured reserve.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the decision to send players home was made “to stem the tide” and get things under control. The team will conduct its meetings pretty much until then, and Rhule hopes to have players back in the building for training on Wednesday.
Raiders cornerback Casey Hayward tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday
The Panthers lost 32-6 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday and have been eliminated from the playoffs. They visit the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
For Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich, it was only a matter of time before his team would add a few players to the NFL’s COVID-19 list.
The Colts placed safety Jahleel Addae, cornerback TJ Carrie, linebacker Malik Jefferson, running back Marlon Mack and tackle Braden Smith on the list on Monday. Smith has been a key member of the offensive line, helping Jonathan Taylor lead the league in rushing. Cornerback Chris Wilcox went on the training team’s COVID-19 list.
“It’s interesting that when we had more unadulterated players than the average around the league, we were one of the last teams to (test) positives,” said Reich. ‘You kind of feel like it’s going to catch up with you at some point just because the virus is so prevalent. But that’s what you’re preparing to face adversity that you do not expect, even though it’s something we probably would have expected to hit us at some point. ‘
Regarding changes in operations this week, Reich said: ‘There will be some elements that are virtual this week. It could be that all meetings are virtual and guys just come in to practice. ‘
The Jacksonville Jaguars placed 10 players on the COVID-19 list Monday, including five defensive linemen and two starting offensive linemen.
Because left-back Andrew Norwell is unvaccinated, he will be out for at least 10 days under NFL records and will miss Sunday’s game in New England. The other nine players are vaccinated and have a chance to play against the Patriots.
Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson is among 13 Carolina players in the league record
Meanwhile, Tennessee Titans left-back Rodger Saffold and rookie-defensive back Elijah Molden got back from the COVID-19 list. They still have two other offensive linemen on the list, and they also put four players – including three starters – on the list, including outside linebacker Bud Dupree, wide receiver Julio Jones, defensive back Buster Skrine and receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. They also put cornerback Caleb Farley, who is on injured reserve, on the list.
Tennessee can win the AFC South for the second year in a row with one win or an Indianapolis loss. Titan’s guests Miami Sunday.
Tennessee Titans got left guard Rodger Saffold and rookie defensive back Elijah Molden back from the COVID-19 list. They still have two other offensive linemen on the list, and they also put four players – including three starters – on the list, including outside linebacker Bud Dupree, wide receiver Julio Jones (pictured), defensive back Buster Skrine and receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. They also put cornerback Caleb Farley, who is on injured reserve, on the list
The Cleveland Browns, who have been hit just as hard as any team by COVID-19 the past few weeks, activated eight players, including defensive Jadeveon Clowney and running back Kareem Hunt.
Clowney has missed the last two games – both losses – and his return will help with a passing rush that would not have been the same without him. Starting left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. is also back. He has been replaced the last two matches by left guard Joel Bitoni, who can slip back to his usual place.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hard hit by offense on the offensive, put star widow Mike Evans on the COVID-19 list, but activated wide receiver Breshad Perriman from it. Evans missed Sunday’s match with an injury. Wide receiver coach Kevin Garver also went on the list.
The Green Bay Packers placed G Ben Braden, LB Tipa Galeai, WR Amari Rodgers and LB Ty Summers on the list, and placed defensive lineman RJ McIntosh on the practice team COVID-19 list.
The Houston Texans added RB David Johnson, LB Neville Hewitt and training team back Paul Quessenberry to the list.
The Cincinnati Bengals placed backup quarterback Brandon Allen and already injured cornerback / kick returner Darius Phillips on the list. Phillips (shoulder), who was the Bengals’ primary kick-back, has been on injured reserve since 9 December.
Allen has been the No. 2 quarterback behind starter Joe Burrow. The team will likely need to add a quarterback to the list.
Starting defensive tackle DJ Reader missed last Sunday’s match after going on the COVID-19 list on December 20, the same day as starting cornerback Chidobe Awuzie came from it.
Cincinnati will host Kansas City on Sunday.
Other NFL players who tested positive for COVID-19 include: San Francisco 49ers player Mitch Wishnowsky, Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Casey Hayward and Seattle Seahawks defensive end LJ Collier.
A cheerleader for the Los Angeles Rams wears a mask during the second half of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium on December 21