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COVID-19 Takes Terence Steele Out for Thursday

Sports

Dallas Cowboys Terence Steele (78) during gameplay. | Image by Newman Lowrance, AP Photo

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In the midst of a troublesome last few weeks, the Dallas Cowboys have been dealing with several players and coaches testing positive for COVID-19. The absence of wide receiver Amari Cooper certainly has been a factor for why the much-vaunted offense has faltered in two of the most recent losses.

The Cowboys will travel to New Orleans for Thursday Night Football without one of their most valuable offensive linemen. The team has announced that Terrence Steele has tested positive and is ruled out for the game.


Steele has started ten games this season and has spent time at right and left tackle and guard. Between Week 2 and Week 10, Steele played 100% of the offensive snaps in the game. He has been flagged for seven penalties this season, including three false start penalties.

In addition to the absence of Cooper, numerous players on the offensive line have moved in and out of rotation in recent weeks. Zack Martin tested positive in September and missed playing time. Offensive guard Connor Williams and lineman Brandon Knight have also been on the COVID list in the last two months.

La’el Collins will likely fill in for Terence Steele on Thursday against New Orleans. Collins is battling to regain starting status after losing his position to Steele while serving a five-game suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse rules. Against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, Cowboys coaches briefly pulled Steele for Collins but returned to the original roster after one drive.

While the offensive line is being bounced around, quarterback Dak Prescott will likely have his two best receivers on the field. Cooper, who missed the last two games after testing positive for COVID while being unvaccinated, appears to be close to returning.

CeeDee Lamb is also expected to return from a concussion suffered on Thanksgiving. Lamb was also on the COVID list earlier this season.

The Cowboys placed tight end Blake Jarwin on the COVID list earlier in the week. Jarwin has 10 receptions on the season while not getting many snaps. He is primarily used across the middle between opponents’ 49-yard line and the 20-yard line, where he has five receptions and 47 of his 90 yards.

As if the loss of numerous players to COVID will not make a tough game more challenging, the Dallas Cowboys are also dealing with multiple assistant coaches and other staff currently following COVID protocols.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will lead the Cowboys against the Saints as he fills in for head coach Mike McCarthy, who has tested positive.

The Cowboys have had more players on the COVID list this season than any other NFL team. Sharp Football Analysis lists 18 players who have been placed in protocol this season.

The Tennessee Titans have placed 16 players on the list, while the Minnesota Vikings have placed 13 players.

Protocols this season require anyone who tests positive, regardless of vaccination status, to quarantine and test negative at least twice before returning to the team. Vaccinated players must quarantine for five days, while unvaccinated players are required to quarantine for ten days and be asymptomatic before returning to the team.

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