By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Sunday. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk first reported the news.
Cowart becomes the second Patriots defensive lineman to test positive. Practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray, an undrafted rookie out of William & Mary, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week.
Four Patriots players have now tested positive for COVID. Quarterback Cam Newton tested positive last Friday, while cornerback Stephon Gilmore also tested positive this past Tuesday.
The Patriots and Broncos' game originally rescheduled for Monday night has been postponed yet again, now expected to be played next Sunday. That means this week becomes the bye week for both teams. The Broncos had a regular week of practice during what is now considered their bye.
Gillette Stadium was closed down on Sunday after the news arrived of the Patriots' new positive test. They closed the facilities for three days before reopening and practicing on Saturday. Head coach Bill Belichick made the call to close down amid positive COVID tests.
"What’s best for our football team is the health and safety of our team. That’s our No. 1 priority," Belichick said Saturday. "So, without that, we don’t have a team. We have to maintain the integrity of not only our football team, but also the extended team – our families and the loved ones for every member of our team. That’s got to come first. I think everybody recognizes that, feels the same way and we’ll have to work maybe a little bit harder to make up for some of the on-the-field practice time that we’ve missed this week, but we can’t compromise the health, safety and well-being of our football team, including our staff."
Unfortunately, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 "incubation period" means that the team could go days without a positive test but wouldn't necessarily be out of trouble. The news of Cowart's positive test illustrates that reality. Now the Pats will have extra time to try to get the virus under control - but if the Broncos game isn't moved off its new date next Sunday, they'll also have to reopen and practice at some point.
Alex Barth and I discussed the report that Jarrett Stidham is in line to start against the Broncos, as well as the Patriots and NFL's handling of the COVID-19 situation. Have a listen below.
Ty Anderson also talked plenty of Patriots with me on this week's episode of the Sports Hub Sidelines podcast. You can listen to the full podcast below. Patriots talk starts at 39:38.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at [email protected].