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Carson Wentz among three Colts players put into five-day quarantines

Carson Wentz runs a practice-field drill last week. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Quarterback Carson Wentz and two other Indianapolis Colts players were placed into five-day quarantines as high-risk close contacts to an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Colts announced Monday that Wentz, center Ryan Kelly and wide receiver Zach Pascal had been placed on their covid-19 reserve list. That list is for players who test positive for the virus and those identified through contact tracing as having been exposed. The Colts did not provide further details, and a team spokesman declined further comment.

But the person with knowledge of the matter said that all three players were identified as high-risk close contacts. They are eligible to rejoin the team after five days unless they test positive in the meantime, under the protocols developed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.

For NFL teams with unvaccinated quarterbacks, this could be a long, complicated season

Only unvaccinated players are subject to be quarantined through contact tracing, under the current version of the protocols in effect for training camp and the preseason. Wentz declined at the beginning of training camp to reveal his vaccination status.

Wentz’s quarantine is the latest illustration that NFL teams with unvaccinated quarterbacks face increased competitive risks this season. Minnesota Vikings starter Kirk Cousins was quarantined early in training camp as a high-risk close contact. Lamar Jackson, the NFL’s former MVP for the Baltimore Ravens, was sidelined while in isolation after he tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time. Cam Newton missed practices with the New England Patriots last week after being subjected to a five-day reentry process based on what the team called a misunderstanding about the protocols.

Vaccinated players are not subject to the reentry protocol that kept Newton out, just as they are not subject to the contact-tracing issues that sidelined Cousins and now Wentz. Jackson said upon rejoining the Ravens that he remained uncertain about being vaccinated.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is vaccinated, was placed on the covid-19 reserve list last week after a positive test for the virus. Under the protocols, a vaccinated player who tests positive can return if he remains symptom-free and has two negative tests 24 hours apart, while an unvaccinated player who tests positive must be in isolation for at least 10 days.

Carson Wentz, looking to rebound with Colts, will miss up to 12 weeks with foot injury

Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said last week that the league expects to see positive tests by vaccinated players. But unvaccinated players were, at that point, testing positive at a rate seven times higher than vaccinated players, Sills said then. The NFL said last week that it is interested in a vaccine requirement for all players but the NFLPA has not agreed to that. The NFL said then that nearly 93 percent of players were vaccinated leaguewide.

For Wentz, this represents another setback as he readies for his first season with the Colts after being acquired in an offseason trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. Wentz had been scheduled to resume practicing fully this week after returning from foot surgery. Instead, he will be in quarantine while quarterback Jacob Eason practices with the starting offense. The Colts are scheduled to open the regular season Sept. 12 against the Seattle Seahawks in Indianapolis.

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