Before the Baltimore Ravens (eventually) had their way with the Dallas Daltons, they got some surprising news during warmups: wide receiver Dez Bryant needed to be retested. His morning PCR test for Covid-19 came back inconclusive. He took a POC test and was pulled out of warmups to be told that he tested positive. He would not play.
Not only would he be unable to play—against the Cowboys, the team that once drafted him in the first round and for whom he became a star, who would eventually dump him and seemingly begin the tailspin end to his career before resurrecting years later—the Ravens would not be given the opportunity to activate another player to take his place.
According to the Covid-19 protocols, Bryant should not have been on the field, because an inconclusive test is to be treated as though it is positive unless and until it is rerun and shown to be negative. According to the league, however, they did not find out about Bryant’s test until warmups had already commenced.
Compounding the issue is the fact that the NFL then had to immediately begin the contact tracing procedures, which consist of conducting interviews, chiefly with the player who tested positive, to assess with whom he would have had close contacts, and analyzing the data from the tracker bracelets that they are required to wear to determine if they had high-risk close contact with anybody.
It was conveniently determined that nobody would have to be classified as a high-risk close contact of Bryant, which meant that nobody else had to be pulled from the game. As for the wide receiver himself, he was less than thrilled about it, and even seemed to imply that he was not going to continue playing at one point. The Dallas game meant a lot to him.
“We were looking around for him, then he told us. It was like, we’re just going to have to pull the game for him; we’ve got to win that game for him, because we know how much it meant to him”, quarterback Lamar Jackson said after the game.
“He’s been talking about it for a minute now since he’s been here. So, I don’t like what happened, but it is what it is. We got the victory for him. I’m feeling for him, though, because I know this is a game he wanted to be in”.
Bryant has so far played in two games since joining the Ravens, catching four passes for 28 yards. He was targeted twice against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week over 32 snaps, but did not catch a pass.