The New England Patriots have successfully combatted the Coronavirus within their organization after an outbreak in early October forced eight players into isolation and the postponement of two games. On Monday, however, Covid-19 reared its highly-contagious head again when wide receiver Julian Edelman was moved off from injured reserve and straight to the league’s newly-created Coronavirus reserve list.
While being sent there is no confirmation that Edelman tested positive, the transaction is another proof that the virus is still able to impact teams even if they are seemingly following all of the protocols that have been implemented by the NFL. The situation as a whole naturally remains a tense one throughout the league.
One of Edelman’s teammates, special teams captain Matthew Slater, pointed this out during a media conference call on Monday.
“I wouldn’t say our level of confidence is very high because I think nationally we’re seeing a resurgence in the virus, and we haven’t seemed to have found a way to control it nationally. So, I don’t think it’s going to be any different within the NFL,” Slater said when asked about the state of the league in regards to Covid-19.
Slater also spoke about his longtime teammate, whose move to Reserve/Covid-19 is just the latest setback this year. After undergoing knee and shoulder procedures over the offseason, Edelman was hampered by another knee issue earlier during the regular season — one that eventually forced him to surgery again and move to IR. While eligible to return off the list any time now, Monday’s news changes the outlook for the 34-year-old.
“It’s been tough. It’s been a tough year for Julian, it’s been a tough year for all of us,” Slater said. “It’s been that kind of year, and I feel for Julian. Julian is such a great fried, but there’s one thing I know: if there’s anyone who can find a way to overcome all those things it’s him, and I know that he’ll do that. So, I think right now we just want to pray that he’s okay, that he’s feeling well, that hopefully this is something that he can move past rather quickly.”
While Edelman is the first Patriot since October 17 to be sent to Reserve/Covid-19, other teams have not been as lucky when it comes to containing the virus.
Just this weekend, the Denver Broncos had to isolate their entire quarterback room ahead of a game against the New Orleans Saints. They had to rely on practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton to lead the offense — a venture that ended in predictable fashion.
The Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, were forced to isolate 18 of their players including quarterback Lamar Jackson as well as numerous assistant coaches following a series of positive tests within the organization. Their Week 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers had to be postponed multiple times after the outbreak, first moving from Thanksgiving to Sunday and later to Tuesday and eventually Wednesday afternoon.
The San Francisco 49ers, on the other hand, will have to host their next two home games away from its Levi’s Stadium facility: a three-week ban on all contact sports imposed by Santa Clara County forced the organization to move to Glendale, Arizona to play on the Cardinals’ home turf in Weeks 13 and 14.
“Certainly, everyone’s trying the best that they can to make sure that we’re safe, but I mean this virus, we don’t know enough about it. It seems very unpredictable, and obviously now it’s surging again,” Slater said. “We’re taking it one day at a time, praying everyone stays safe and healthy — not only within the NFL but around the world, around the globe. It’s hard to be confident when this thing seems to be spreading like wildfire.”