The Denver Broncos ruled out quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, NFL Network reported, after it was determined the trio came into contact with fellow QB Jeff Driskel, who was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.
Head coach Vic Fangio originally told reporters Thursday that Lock and the other quarterbacks were not deemed to be close contacts because they only spent a few minutes with Driskell over the previous few days. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that status changed after it was discovered the players weren’t wearing masks when they were together.
Denver plans to “play plenty” practice squad WR Kendall Hinton at quarterback instead, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Hinton started 22 games at quarterback for Wake Forest, throwing for 1,504 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for over 800 yards and 12 scores before switching to receiver as a redshirt senior.
Rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy joked on Twitter that he would be taking over the quarterback job.
The news follows a trying week for the NFL, which has seen a significant outbreak at the Baltimore Ravens’ facility, players on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns land on the COVID list and Santa Clara County bar the San Francisco 49ers from playing at their home stadium. The league also announced Friday that no teams will be permitted to practice Monday or Tuesday due to the virus.
Hinton and the Broncos will face a stiff opponent in the Saints, who are allowing the third-fewest total yards in the NFL this season at 302.2 per game.