Saturday, October 31, 2020
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Patriots Place 3 More Players on Reserve/COVID-19 List



The Patriots have placed three more players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, according to ESPN.

ESPN’s Field Yates reports that running back Sony Michel, guard Shaq Mason and defensive end Derek Rivers are all being placed on the COVID list. That does not necessarily mean that they have tested positive for the coronavirus; they could have just been exposed to someone who has.

The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said the NFL was aware of the situation and Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos is still on as scheduled.

The Patriots’ practice facility reopened Saturday and the team was reportedly preparing to play its game against the Broncos.

The team had canceled practice Friday and later placed center James Ferentz on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He became the fifth player on the team to test positive for the virus.

New England (2-2) already twice had their original Week 5 matchup against Denver postponed following four earlier positive coronavirus tests by players, including quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

“I don’t really know the answer to that,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said when asked about finally playing the Patriots. “We’re under the assumption and understanding that this game’s going to go off on time. And anything that happens otherwise will happen when it happens.”

Newton and Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, returned to practice this week for the first time since testing positive for the virus. Newton missed New England’s loss at Kansas City on Oct. 5 after his Oct. 2 positive test. He was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Gilmore, who tested positive on Oct. 7, was activated from the list Thursday. Practice squad player Bill Murray also returned from the COVID-19 list Thursday.

Defensive tackle Byron Cowart, who tested positive on Oct. 11, was joined on the list by Ferentz, Michel, Mason and Rivers.

The Patriots returned to practice Thursday for the first time since the coronavirus forced their practice facility to close. Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore returned as well after their positive tests.

The Broncos also announced on Saturday that running backs coach Curtis Modkins has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Broncos (1-3) haven’t played since Oct. 1. If they play Sunday, they’ll have had 16 days between games, one day longer than Tennessee’s layoff before the Titans beat Buffalo on Tuesday night following the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak, which affected two dozen members of the organization.

Denver’s layoff is the longest in the league since 2001, when the NFL postponed all games on the weekend following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Three teams — the Saints, Steelers and Buccaneers — had byes when play resumed a week later, so they all had 20 days between games that year. Of those three, only the Steelers won in their return to action.

The Patriots are scheduled to play the Broncos at 1 p.m. Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

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