The Dallas Cowboys have added three more players, including second-year wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, to the COVID-19 list and went to a virtual format on Sunday and Monday after defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins were sent home early from Saturday’s preseason game against the Houston Texans.
“I think just like most things we do, we’re just being cautious and want to make sure we contain this outbreak and just be smart with that,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
In addition to Lamb, safeties Malik Hooker and Israel Mukuamu were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.
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Upon announcing Quinn and Watkins were placed in the COVID protocols, the Cowboys announced that 93% of their players are fully vaccinated, which would account for 80 of 86 players on the roster. The entire coaching staff and support staff needed to be fully vaccinated before the start of training camp in order to continue working in proximity to players.
If a fully vaccinated player or coach fails a test and is completely asymptomatic, he can return to the club facility and interact with players after two negative PCR tests taken at least 24 hours apart, plus a negative Mesa test before entry.
If a fully vaccinated player or coach tests positive and has symptoms, then he must remain in isolation until he has two negative PCR tests separated by 24 hours and be symptom-free for 48 hours.
Unvaccinated players without symptoms will be forced to miss at least 10 days. Unvaccinated players with symptoms will also miss at least 10 days, plus other requirements depending on the severity of the symptoms.
It’s not clear whether Quinn or the four players have symptoms.
Coaches and support staff were tested Sunday.
“Hopefully we get to that 72-hour mark from Saturday and hopefully we’ll have more information there,” McCarthy said.
By placing four players on the COVID list, the Cowboys have to make just one roster move to reach the 80-player limit on Tuesday. Once the players clear the protocols, the Cowboys will have to make a corresponding roster move.
The Cowboys are scheduled to return to practice on Tuesday, but McCarthy did not expect the tenor of the workout to be impacted.
“I’m probably a lot like everyone in here. I watch the numbers, listen to the league’s recommendations, definitely aware what’s going on in our society, definitely here locally and just anticipate,” he said. “My job is to make sure that we have a plan regardless of what happens.”
A year ago, the Cowboys had six players account for seven missed games on the COVID list.
“The messaging’s constant. Anytime there’s a memo that comes in from the league or the NFLPA, it’s always communicated,” McCarthy said. “I really like the player council that we put together. Those guys are active. We all have clear understanding what the state of what we’re in. We’re by no means clear of what went on last year. We’re taking the same approach.”
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