Why Cowboys-Ravens was played despite Bryant's positive test


Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant was scratched from Tuesday night's game against his former team, the Dallas Cowboys, after testing positive for COVID-19 just before the 8:05 ET kickoff. But the announcement, by Bryant himself, that he wouldn't be playing was the culmination of events that began Tuesday morning.

According to reports, Bryant's polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test Tuesday morning and the subsequent retest were both inconclusive, but those results weren't known until Bryant was already at the stadium. The Ravens get same-day results, unlike many other teams, because of their close proximity to the testing lab in Maryland.

About two hours before kickoff, Bryant took the field for pre-game warmups and caught passes from backup quarterback Trace McSorley. During his time on the field, he also was seen talking with people on the Cowboys' side. Once the inconclusive results came back, he was pulled from the field for a rapid point-of-care test, which came back positive for coronavirus.

The unexpected result left Bryant with the same question as many others: "Since I tested positive for Covid before the game do the game stop or go on?" he asked on Twitter, tagging the NFL's account.

Related: Ravens saddened, surprised by Bryant's pregame positive test

Bryant shouldn't have been allowed to take the field after two inconclusive tests, which are treated as a positive, but he reportedly was already on the field before the results were known. Despite his on-field interactions, contact tracing by the NFL determined there were no high-risk close contacts to Bryant, according to reports, so the game was played without a hitch.


Per the NFL and NFLPA's policy, "brief interactions" don't count as close contacts. And according to ESPN, the league isn't concerned about close contacts on the Ravens, as the team is still operating under strict protocols following its outbreak two weeks ago. No other Ravens tested positive Tuesday.

The whole ordeal left Bryant, 32, ready to step away for the rest of the season. "Yea I’m going to go ahead and call it a quit for the rest of the season... I can’t deal with this," he tweeted.