Everyone who has been paying attention knew that it would be like this. A relatively high number of NFL players were going to report to training camp and be quarantined, either because they tested positive for Covid-19 or because they exposed themselves to high-risk situations or confirmed positive cases.
Yesterday’s list brought a couple more significant, high-profile names, among them the presumptive starting quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars, second-year Gardner Minshew. This comes just a day after Matthew Stafford (pictured above somewhere beneath a mass of humanity), the longtime starting quarterback for the Detroit Lions and a Pro Bowler, was also placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list.
As of now, there are roughly 80-90 players on reserve/Covid-19 lists around the league, with surely more to come. The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have four players on their list, adding their two most significant names yesterday with third-year players, wide receiver James Washington, a starter, and running back Jaylen Samuels. They join second-year cornerback Justin Layne and first-year defensive back Arrion Springs.
Another name added yesterday was Ereck Flowers for the Miami Dolphins, who started last season and would be in competition to start again in 2020. Among the other notable players who are currently on a team’s reserve/Covid-19 list are two more Lions, wide receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end T.J. Hockenson. Vikings rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson and Eagles tackle Lane Johnson are a couple of other names of note, as well as Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Barr.
The good news is that roughly 10 percent of the players who have been placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list have already been activated, with perhaps the most notable names among those who have already returned to their teams being Dolphins defensive tackle Benito Jones and Jaguars tackle Jawaan Taylor. Unsurprisingly, both Florida teams have the highest number of players on the list.
While the number of players who have been placed on the list nears 100 or so, as of now, the NFLPA is only reporting 21 positive tests since the start of training camp, but this number is also out of date, as it has not been updated since the 28th, the day veterans began reporting. It’s likely twice as high as that, or even higher.
As a reminder, being placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list does not mean that a player has tested positive for the coronavirus, though if they had, they would be put there. Players who are believed to have been exposed to the virus will also be placed under quarantine as a precaution until they test negative, presumably multiple times.
As of this writing, 14 teams have placed at least three players on the reserve/Covid-19 list, including the Steelers. By my count, only seven teams have yet to place any of their players on the list, though most of them have had at least one player opt out.