Record 47 NFL players test positive; Packers avoid new COVID list additions


FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2018 file photo, the NFL logo is displayed on the field at the Bank of American Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. The NFL revealed Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, that several positive COVID-19 tests were found a day earlier by one of its testing partners, and the Chicago Bears said they had nine false positives. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)

(WFRV) – As the NFL moves forward with updated protocols regarding testing and virus mitigation, a single-day high of 47 players across the league were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.

Fortunately for the Packers, no new names were added to either active roster reserve or practice squad reserve Monday. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who missed Sunday’s game against the Ravens, remains the only Green Bay player on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Quarterback Jordan Love was activated from the list last week.

Baltimore, after placing cornerback Jimmy Smith and wide receiver Sammy Watkins on the COVID list over the weekend, added All-Pro edge rusher Justin Houston on Monday. Houston sacked Aaron Rodgers in the first half of Sunday’s game.

Green Bay’s next opponent, the Cleveland Browns, did not add any new players to the list before their Monday afternoon game against the Raiders. However, Cleveland is still missing a whopping 18 players due to positive tests, including 10 starters and head coach Kevin Stefanski. All are hoping to be activated before Saturday’s Christmas Day game at Lambeau Field.

The record 47 players added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday add to an unprecedented weeklong trend of positive tests within the National Football League. Close to 200 players have tested positive since last Monday, and the NFL has elevated all 32 teams to enhanced in-facility protocols, along with a new targeted testing strategy.

Instead of sweeping routine tests for vaccinated players, the league has moved away from weekly checks and more toward random spot checks, according to reports. The new strategy does not include close contacts, which are tested promptly after being contact traced.

Players can also return from the Reserve/COVID-19 list more quickly if they either test negative or reach a certain “cycle threshold” for the amount of viral load they shed (when they are deemed to be not contagious).

All players that have tested positive will not have to test again until 90 days after the initial positive test.

As of Monday, just 55 days remain until Super Bowl LVI.

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