Cam Newton has company on the Patriots’ COVID-19/reserve list.
New England’s practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list Tuesday afternoon. As a practice-squad player, Murray would not have traveled to Kansas City for the Patriots’ loss to the Chiefs. His placement on the COVID-19/reserve list comes three days after Newton’s placement on the list Saturday morning.
The Patriots took extra precautions even in their travels to Kansas City, flying two planes to keep separate those players who’d had the closest contact with Newton. That shows they’d undergone the NFL’s contact tracing protocol after Newton’s positive test, which means if Murray was exposed to Newton, the Pats likely already know that. The higher likelihood is that a practice squad defensive tackle’s placement on the COVID-19/reserve list is isolated from the starting quarterback’s case.
It’s also worth noting that a player can be placed on the COVID-19/reserve list without having actually tested positive for the coronavirus — the list is “for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons.”
The Patriots all underwent required testing over the weekend, including on Monday morning before the active roster flew to Kansas City. All of New England’s Monday morning COVID-19 tests came back negative, according to multiple reports.
Murray’s placement on the COVID-19/reserve list does fit the timeline of the outbreak that the Titans dealt with in Week 4, when positive tests continued for about a week. The Patriots competed just two days after Newton’s positive test results while following all league protocol. They didn’t see any other positive tests in the 48-plus hours leading up to the game.
Before signing with New England as an undrafted free agent, Murray played at William & Mary, where he had 19 sacks and 10 blocked kicks during his college career.
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