Dallas Cowboys Add Two Players to Covid List, Get One Back

Photo by Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

The Covid-19 outbreak among players and staff continues to cause issues for the team as they announced Wednesday that two more players were added to the Covid-19 protocol list. One player put on the list Monday has now returned to the team after completing the needed testing to verify he isn’t infected.  

The two Cowboys players placed on the covid list are Demontae Kazee and Connor Williams. The team had a total of six players under observation and confirmed today that four of the individuals have tested positive for Covid-19. Safety Israel Mukuamu returned to the team today after being placed under watch prior to practicing after the third preseason game against Houston. 

Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn is among those who are currently being observed. Quinn was sent home along with Defensive Tackle Carlos Watkins. Neither has yet to return to the team. Following the game, Wide Receiver CeeDee Lamb, Safety Malik Hooker, and Mukuamu were listed on Monday to the Covid list.  

Due to the rules relating to roster counts while players are on Covid protocol, the Cowboys had only to release one player to get the roster to 80 players this week. With Mukuamu returning to the team, the Cowboys placed Running Back Rico Dowdle on injured reserve to make room on the roster.  

The IR designation in the preseason means that 2022 is a lost season for Dowdle, who has shown bursts of capability to handle RB3 for the team behind Ezekial Elliot and Tony Pollard. Dowdle ranked 11th in the NFL preseason up to this point with 99 yards on 22 carries. The three remaining backs looking to take the RB3 spot are all undrafted rookies.  

NFL rules relating to player safety in response to Covid-19 differ for players who are vaccinated versus those who are not. Mukuamu was able to return quickly because he either did not test positive or tested negative in two tests administered 24 hours apart and was asymptomatic. Unvaccinated players are subjected to a 10-day isolation and then must pass Covid tests and remain asymptomatic. Symptomatic, vaccinated players must be quarantined for 48 hours prior to taking two covid tests 24 hours apart.  

NFL and NFLPA rules dictate that vaccinated players are tested every 14 days, while unvaccinated players must test every day. On August 4, the NFLPA asked the NFL to update the rules and increase the frequency of testing of vaccinated players, along with masking requirements and limits on the number of players and staff that can be indoors at once.  

The NFL reportedly informed the NFLPA that they were unconvinced that a large enough problem exists to alter the rules. The league’s chief medical officer stated that testing of vaccinated players does increase when the medical staff is doing contact tracing following a positive test.  

The Cowboys stated on Monday that 93% of the players had received at least one shot of the vaccine and 100% of the staff was at least partially vaccinated. The vaccine is known to prevent serious illness and reduces the likelihood of death, but may not stop the spread of the virus between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. 

It is possible that several of the players currently under observation have tested positive and are asymptomatic after being vaccinated, which will accelerate their return to team activities. 

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