NFL teams still set to play Sunday despite virus cases

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 18 2020 09:12 AM

NEW YORK -- The Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars remained scheduled to play NFL games on Sunday despite at least one player for each club being placed on the Covid-19 reserve list Saturday.

Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Cominsky, Baltimore defensive tackle Brandon Williams and Jacksonville defensive end Josh Mauro were put onto the list, which means either a positive test or close contact with someone who has tested positive.

In addition, 12 players from the Jaguars practice squad were placed onto the Covid reserve list after one tested positive, prompting the closing of the team training facility. 

The reserves are together and apart from active players during meetings and workouts.

Mauro had just completed a five-game ban for using performance-enhancing substances.

The Falcons (0-5) remain scheduled to play Sunday at Minnesota (1-4) while the Ravens (4-1) visit Philadelphia (1-3 with one drawn) and the Jaguars (1-4) entertain Detroit (1-3).

More testing and contact tracing is being conducted under NFL safety protocols that could have an impact on Sunday's schedule.

ESPN and the NFL Network reported Saturday that the Patriots had placed starting right guard Shaq Mason, reserve defensive end Derek Rivers and injured rusher Sony Michel on Covid-19 reserve.

The Patriots (2-2) home game Sunday against Denver (1-3), postponed from last week over Covid-19 issues, also remains on the schedule.

Cominsky, 24, joined defensive tackle Marlon Davidson on the Falcons virus list while an assistant coach tested positive on Thursday, prompting the club to close its practice facility before reopening Friday.

Williams, who won't play Sunday, did not test positive but had close contact with someone who did, according to the NFL Network.

Under NFL safety protocols, any "high risk" close contact person must be isolated for at least five days.

Williams, whose entire eight-year NFL career has been spent with the Ravens, has made 11 tackles in five games this season.

The Jaguars closed their practice facility and worked remotely as a precaution after the practice squad positive while more testing was conducted.

"Last night, we received results from our daily PCR testing that an individual on our practice squad tested positive for COVID-19," the Jaguars said in a statement.

"After confirming the positive test later in the evening, our organization began working with the NFL to review contact tracing data while the player self-isolated.

"As a precautionary measure for today, we made the decision to conduct our football activities remotely while following NFL protocols and recommendations... We plan to play tomorrow's game as scheduled."

- More Pats virus issues -

The uncertainty follows the Falcons and New England Patriots closing their practice facilities in the past week.

The Patriots reopened their facility on Saturday, but have had to elevate players from the practice squad to fill out the roster due to the latest Covid-19 positives.

Quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore returned to workouts Thursday after having earlier tested positive for Covid-19.

New England had to close again Friday after another positive, with ESPN reporting Patriots center James Ferentz was put on the Covid-19 reserve list the same day.

The Broncos plan to bench top running back Melvin Gordon for the game at New England with what was described as a non-Covid-19 illness.

But Denver running backs coach Curtis Modkins will not travel to the game with the Patriots after testing positive for COVID-19, the Broncos announced.

"Early this morning, we learned that running backs coach Curtis Modkins tested positive for COVID-19," the team said in a statement.

"Curtis is currently at home in self-isolation and experiencing no symptoms."

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham tested negative for Covid-19 after missing workouts Thursday and Friday with flu-like symptoms. 

That means he will be able to play Sunday when the Browns face Pittsburgh.

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