As COVID-19 cases rise around NFL, Eagles taking extra precautions


When Darius Slay met with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Football Team already had 10 players on their Reserve/COVID-19 list in danger of missing Sunday’s game.

“That’s crazy but that’s the life we’re living right now,” Slay said.

Within another few hours, Washington was up to 18 players on their COVID list.

Washington and Cleveland have been hit hard this week by COVID-19 as cases league-wide have begun to surge. Some of these players might return in time for Sunday, but if Washington had to play right now they basically wouldn’t have a defensive line or a secondary.

The Eagles have taken notice.

While the Birds were lucky that just one player on their 53-man roster (Quez Watkins) tested positive coming back from the bye week, they have ramped up precautions to prevent an outbreak like we’ve seen in some NFL cities this week.

One of the major precautions is that Eagles players and coaches are wearing masks pretty much all the time now. The Eagles have also shuffled their meeting rooms to make sure there’s adequate spacing. They’re doing whatever they can to make sure the virus doesn’t spread throughout the NovaCare Complex.

“As a team, we just decided to do that to be on the safe side, to be ahead of it,” Slay said. “Because it’s an important time. Games are won in December, man. These are the most important ones. We’re trying to have everyone ready.”


In addition to all the precautions the Eagles have been taking in an attempt to prevent an outbreak, they also have contingency plans in place for everything. Nick Sirianni even said there’s a plan in place if he himself ends up out of commission.

“I’m just fortunate that we came back in and that we didn’t have a lot of guys that tested positive after being on a bye week and being out and about,” Sirianni said. “So obviously, credit to the guys that they were safe when they were out. They were cautious about what they were doing.

“I know we've got a couple guys on protocol right now, but credit to the guys how they handled the bye week and handled the precautions.”

After getting through 14 weeks of the season without many issues, the NFL is now seeing a fast rise of cases.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like the 2020 season.

And one of the major negatives of that COVID-lined season was that teams weren’t able to function as teams. Meetings were virtual a lot of times and social distancing and mask-wearing had a negative effect on camaraderie.

“I think there’s that fine line you’re trying to walk where it’s hard to be close and be together as a team when you don’t go six feet between each other,” Jason Kelce said. “Right now, we don’t have an outbreak but we’re trying to be cautious to prevent something like what’s going on in Washington or Cleveland, some of these other places, which is unfortunate.”

The other side of this is that the Eagles are trying to prepare for a team that doesn’t know who will be available on Sunday.

In addition to all their COVID cases, Washington star receiver Terry McLaurin is in the NFL’s concussion protocol so his availability for Sunday’s game is up in the air too. Sirianni on Wednesday said he’s treating those COVID cases the same way he does with McLaurin going through that protocol.

“And you've got to do the same thing with guys that have the COVID issues, as well, because you just don't want to – again, I talk about not leaving any stone unturned,” Sirianni said. “You don't want to be like, ‘All right, McLaurin is not playing.’ You don't do the homework on him and then you get bit by it. So, I treat it the same way with the COVID stuff.”

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