Early on Sunday morning, reports broke that the New England Patriots had a fourth player test positive for the novel Coronavirus after quarterback Cam Newton, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray had all been moved to the NFL’s Reserve/Covid-19 list over the course of the previous nine days. The latest player to test positive was not initially known, but it seems as if it defensive tackle Byron Cowart.
According to a report by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the second-year defender was tested positive on Saturday. Cowart now contracting Covid-19 forced the Patriots to shut down their Gillette Stadium facilities on Sunday, and the league to move the upcoming game against the Denver Broncos for a second time: after it had already been postponed from Sunday to Monday, it will now be played one week later on Sunday, October 18.
As for Cowart, he will now join Newton, Gilmore and Murray on the reserve list. Like his three teammates, he will be eligible to return off the list depending on his status:
- Cowart shows no symptoms: If Murray does not develop any of the symptoms associated with Covid-19 — most commonly fever, a dry cough and tiredness — a return is prohibited until 10 days have passed since the first positive test or if he produces two consecutive negative tests separated by 24 hours. Furthermore, club and NFL physicians will have to give the green light while guidelines and requirements defined by Massachusetts’ local government also need to be fulfilled.
- Cowart shows symptoms: If the second-year defender develops Coronavirus symptoms over the next few hours or days he will not be allowed to return until at least 10 days have passed since those symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours since he last showed them. A return, once again, will have to be approved by the Patriots and by NFL physicians while once again fulfilling local guidelines and requirements.
Either way, Cowart will be out for the foreseeable future — all while the team will hope that no other players test positive as well.