Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has tested positive for the coronavirus but is “feeling good,” his agent told the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Monday.
Elliott is one of a number of Cowboys and Houston Texans players to test positive for the virus, Rapoport reported. None of the players is believed to have visited his team’s facility.
The Cowboys declined to discuss Elliott's positive test with Rapoport, citing "federal and local privacy laws." After Rapoport broke the news of his positive test, Elliott sent a one-word tweet that read "HIPAA ??," a reference to the federal law that protects patient privacy.
According to ESPN, one of the players who tested positive had flu-like symptoms but has recovered while the other players who tested positive were asymptomatic.
Only players who have been rehabilitating injuries have been allowed inside team facilities during the pandemic shutdown. That hasn’t included Elliott.
The 24-year-old Elliott has led the NFL in rushing twice in his first four seasons. He missed all of training camp last year in a contract holdout, eventually signing a $90 million, six-year extension a few days before the start of the season.
Last week, the NFL provided teams with the protocols by which players will return to team facilities ahead of the 2020 season. The protocols include measures such as the mandatory use of masks, physical distancing in locker rooms, and advisories for meetings to be held remotely or outdoors. But the matter of coronavirus testing — how often players will be tested, and what happens if a player tests positive — still must be resolved by the league and the players’ union.
“While these protocols have been carefully developed and are based on the most current information from leading experts, no set of protocols can eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19, nor ensure that the disease itself will be mild,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a memo to the teams. “And we should expect that these protocols will change as medical and scientific knowledge of the disease continues to grow. But we believe, along with the NFLPA, that these protocols offer a sound basis for bringing players back into the facilities and moving forward with our planning for the 2020 season.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh has questioned the practicality of the league’s coronavirus protocols, namely keeping players 6 feet apart during practice and holding large meetings remotely or outdoors.
“I’ve seen all the memos on that, and to be quite honest with you, it’s impossible what they’re asking us to do. Humanly impossible,” Harbaugh said Thursday in a radio interview in Baltimore. “So we’re going to do everything we can do. We’re going to space; we’re going to have masks. But, you know, it’s a communication sport. We have to be able to communicate with each other in person. We have to practice.”
On Sunday, Texas hit a record high with 2,287 reported coronavirus hospitalizations, with the state’s larger cities seeing the biggest increases. Governor Greg Abbott has taken an aggressive stance toward reopening the state’s economy and Texas entered Phase 3 of its recovery plan over the weekend, with restaurants allowed to operate at 75 percent capacity and nearly all other businesses allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.
“I’m very concerned about it,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said this weekend. “[Residents have] been asked for quite some time to not be around people they love, and that they want to spend time with. Wearing a mask is not pleasant. And I think people are tired.”
Eagles lose Brooks
Eagles starting right guard Brandon Brooks suffered a torn left Achilles’ and will miss the 2020 season. The 30-year-old Pro Bowl guard just signed a four-year, $54.2 million contract extension in November . . . Josh Harris and David Blitzer, the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, acquired a stake of less than 5 percent in the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this year, according to two people familiar with the transaction. While no details on price were available, the pair of financiers may have paid as much as $140 million, based on the $2.8 billion value Forbes estimated for the NFL franchise last September . . . The San Francisco 49ers rewarded coach Kyle Shanahan, 40, with a new six-year contract after he took the team to the Super Bowl in his third season at the helm. A person familiar with the deal said the Niners are replacing the three years remaining on Shanahan’s original six-year contract signed in 2017 to keep him under contract through 2025.