Within the first couple of days of the reserve/Covid-19 list having been established, NFL teams had already put dozens of players on the list, which opens up an additional roster spot for them during the offseason until that player is medically cleared to be reinstated to the 90-man roster. The Pittsburgh Steelers are among the teams who have placed a player on the list, in their case, Arrion Springs.
Not every player who is put on the list has been confirmed as having tested positive, though. Many players will be put on the list because they were found to have engaged in high-risk behavior prior to reporting or have been exposed to somebody who is positive for the virus.
According to the NFLPA, as of this writing, 21 players who have come in to best tested at the start of training camp have tested positive. That obviously does not account for the total number of players who have been put on the reserve list, but they wouldn’t be there if there were not concerns that they may later test positive.
In addition to the report of 21 players testing positive, the NFLPA also updated the total number of known positive cases among players over the course of the offseason, which includes every player who at any point has been known to have tested positive, whether they are currently positive or not. The total is now 107, and that includes players like Von Miller and Ezekiel Elliott.
Yet another part of the puzzle is the NFLPA approving the Infectious Disease Emergency Response plans for all 32 teams. The IDER plans are pretty self-explanatory—basically, what an NFL team proposes to do in the event that they suffer an outbreak at their facility.
While all 32 teams have submitted their plans, to date, 25 have now been approved, including all of the teams in the AFC North. Importantly, none of the remaining outstanding IDER plans have been rejected. The NFL’s own chief medical expert has already approved all 32 plans.
When taking in consideration the number of positive tests, it’s important to remember that they are still working through all of the tests, and players will have to pass three tests before beginning to work at the facility. It’s possible that by the time this article publishes, more players will have been placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list.
Additionally, we must brace for the distinct possibility that we will see cases rise as players begin to gather and mingle. While actual practices are still some time off, players will be together in the facility and in the weight room once their tests and physicals are taken care of.
A couple hundred positive tests among thousands of players would not be totally surprising, and is a reality the NFL has been prepared for. All players are automatically self-quarantined once they take their first test.