Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was removed from the team's COVID-IR list on Tuesday, the team announced via Twitter, after the 12-year pro tested negative three times for the novel coronavirus.
Statement from the Detroit Lions pic.twitter.com/3C9jVHGbQV— Detroit Lions (@Lions) August 4, 2020
Stafford can now report to training camp, take his physical and begin preparing for the 2020 season with his teammates.
MMQB's Albert Breer reported Monday that Stafford tested positive for COVID-19 but was asymptomatic. The Lions insist Stafford never had the virus but instead had a false-positive result.
This is obviously great news for the Lions but is also a stark reminder of how volatile the COVID-19 testing process will be during the 2020 season. It's also a warning for teams to have a plan in place in the event their starting quarterback contracts the virus. Detroit signed Chase Daniel this offseason to serve as Stafford's primary backup. He served in that capacity for the Bears over the last two seasons and was serviceable in his role.
Chicago has a full-blown quarterback battle underway in training camp between Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky, which means there's no choice but to have both players in somewhat close-ish proximity to each other. As a result, the risk of quarterback-to-quarterback transmission of COVID-19 is high. The Bears may have no choice but to keep Tyler Bray, who's currently listed as the team's QB3, in bubble wrap, as our JJ Stankevitz suggested here.
Stafford won't be the last high-profile player to register a false-positive result this summer. The NFL must make sure their testing protocols are sound enough to get this right, otherwise, the 2020 season will implode.