The New England Patriots were hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic in October with eight of their players being sent to the NFL’s newly-created reserve list and two of their games being postponed as a result of the outbreak. Since the calendar turned to November, however, the team did not have any more positive cases or players or staff members qualifying as high-risk close contacts — until today.
As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots will place Julian Edelman on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. The move is no proof that the veteran wide receiver has tested positive for the Coronavirus: he merely could have been classified as a close contact.
Nevertheless, it is another blow for Edelman in what has been a challenging season. The 34-year-old was bothered by a knee issue ever since Week 2, and later had to be sent to injured reserve after undergoing a minor procedure on his knee in late October. While being sent to Reserve/Covid-19 does therefore not impact the Patriots’ active roster, it does push a potential return off the list back for the foreseeable future.
Such a return certainly still appears to be in the cards despite today’s news. After all, players can return off the reserve list rather quickly even when testing positive — it all depends on whether or not they develop symptoms associated with the Coronavirus.
Furthermore, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had some encouraging words about Edelman during an appearance on WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Monday.
“I think Julian’s made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks. I talked to him the other day and he’s certainly feeling better and able to do a little more each day, so we’ll take it day by day and see how it goes,” said Belichick. “I know he’s working extremely hard and I certainly would never count Julian out of anything. He’s got a tremendous will and a great work ethic and is very competitive. Football is very important to him, so it would take a lot for me to count him out, put it that way.”
Still, being sent to Reserve/Covid-19 throws another wrench into Edelman’s 2020 season — all while also putting the Patriots into the Coronavirus spotlight once again.