Six unidentified members of the New Orleans Saints coaching staff, a player, and a nutritionist have tested positive for COVID-19, two people familiar with the situation said.
The people spoke with the Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the team and NFL had not made a public statement about the matter. The people said the entire Saints coaching staff had been vaccinated.
Later Tuesday, Michael Thomas — who already was ineligible to play the first six games while on the club’s physically unable to perform list — was place on the team’s COVID-19 reserve list.
The names of most others who tested positive were not expected to be released in the short term because of federal medical privacy laws.
It is unclear how long those who tested positive will remain isolated from the team before they may return to the field or in-person meetings.
For now, the entire team is operating under the NFL’s enhanced mitigation protocols, meaning mandatory masking inside facilities, daily testing, no in-person meetings, and grab-and-go meals.
The positive tests occurred in the wake of the Saints’ 38-3 victory over the Packers on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla., where the game was moved from the Superdome in the wake of damage caused to southeast Louisiana by Hurricane Ida.
The Saints have spent the past two weeks practicing in the Dallas area and are scheduled to continue practicing at TCU this week before traveling to Carolina for their Week 2 game on Sunday. That game remains on track to go ahead as scheduled.
Mostert out for season
Niners running back Raheem Mostert will undergo season-ending surgery on his knee after getting injured in the season opener.
Coach Kyle Shanahan had said Mostert was expected to miss eight weeks because of chipped cartilage, but Mostert announced on his Twitter account Tuesday that he will miss the rest of the season.
Mostert said he was “gutted” by the news, but after consulting with multiple doctors felt this was the best decision for his long-term future.
“This gives me, without a doubt in my mind, the best possibility at coming back 110 percent,” he wrote. “I have ALWAYS come back stronger and I will this time too! ... This is obviously not what I worked so hard for. I wish more than anything I could be out on the field with my brothers!”
The injury to Mostert is the second season-ending injury suffered by a key 49ers player already this year after the 2020 season was derailed by injuries. Cornerback Jason Verrett tore the ACL in his right knee in the season opener at Detroit.
After winning the NFC in 2019, the 49ers went just 6-10 last year when they played long stretches without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, tight end George Kittle, cornerback Richard Sherman, and Mostert among others.
Mostert played only eight games last season because of ankle and knee injuries and lasted only four snaps this year. He had two carries for 20 yards on the opening drive of a 41-33 win against the Lions before getting hurt.
Sixth-round rookie Elijah Mitchell took advantage of the opportunity and rushed for 104 yards and a TD in his NFL debut. The 49ers also have Jamycal Hasty and third-rounder Trey Sermon, who was a healthy scratch for the opener.
Bills to require proof
The Bills joined the Raiders as the only NFL teams to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all fans over the age of 12. The change comes after reports from fans about lax mask enforcement during the opening game at Highmark Stadium on Sunday. Unvaccinated fans were allowed to attend, but were supposed to wear masks at all times under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many at the game said they saw very few face coverings at the packed stadium, including in restrooms and other indoor areas where even vaccinated fans were expected to wear a mask … The Broncos were stacked at two positions to begin the season — wide receiver and cornerback — and that depth is already being tested. They placed Jerry Jeudy (high right ankle sprain) on injured reserve along with free agent acquisition Ronald Darby, who pulled a hamstring in last Sunday’s win over the Giants. Jeudy had a terrific training camp and had six catches for 72 yards before getting hurt in the opener. He’s expected to miss about six weeks. Darby was a surprise addition to IR as coach Vic Fangio never mentioned his injury in his postgame news conference or on Monday. Both Jeudy and Darby must spend at least three weeks on IR before they’re eligible to return to the active roster. While Jeudy is expected to miss about twice that amount of time, Darby’s prognosis is uncertain … Raekwon Davis was placed on injured reserve by the Dolphins, meaning the defensive tackle will miss at least three games. Davis injured a knee in the season-opening win at New England on Sunday. This weekend’s game against Buffalo will be the first he misses in his career, after appearing in all 16 games for Miami during his rookie season in 2020. Davis had 40 tackles last season, second in the NFL among rookie defensive linemen, behind only Washington’s Chase Young.