Jan 17, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; A coronavirus COVID-19 face mask advisory sign at a NFC Wild Card playoff football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL ends COVID restrictions, including testing and tracking

A memo sent to all 32 NFL teams on Thursday signals the end of all COVID-19 protocols, including testing and tracking for players and staff, per multiple reports.

All COVID-19 restrictions are “suspended” and can be restored if the NFL and NFL Players Association agree the need exists.

The memo states “current encouraging trends regarding” the pandemic led to the decision.

The NBA and NHL are still employing in-season restrictions as public mask mandates and vaccine orders are being peeled back across the country.

Included in the NFL pause are restrictions on facilities and training areas for players and staff that had been subject to close monitoring.

–Field Level Media

The NFL has started an investigation on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The future Hall of Famer, who tested positive for COVID, might not have followed the league's protocols for preventing the spread of the disease.

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Reports: NFL drops daily COVID testing of unvaccinated players

The National Football League will halt daily COVID testing of unvaccinated players for the remainder of this season, according to multiple reports.

The change in testing policy affects roughly a dozen players, the NFL Network reported. That’s the number of unvaccinated players on playoff teams who have not been diagnosed with COVID.

The eight teams remaining in the playoffs were informed of the new policy via memo, the reports said. The league and NFLPA, the players’ union, agreed on the move to stop daily testing.

In the last several days, both the NBA and NHL have announced daily testing of asymptomatic players for COVID will stop. The NBA halted daily testing Jan. 15. The NHL said daily testing will cease after its All-Star game in early February.

The NFL cited fewer recent cases of the Omicron variant as one reason for the policy change, as well as the fact the five-day return rule for players who tested positive has worked well.

Players who show symptoms of being sick will still be tested for COVID, the reports said. This includes players who are on a 90-day “holiday” from testing after having gotten COVID but have symptoms.

But players showing no signs of COVID, even though unvaccinated, will no longer be tested.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (23) talks with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) before the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers activate Joe Haden, Kendrick Green off COVID list

Pittsburgh Steelers veteran cornerback Joe Haden and rookie center Kendrick Green were activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday.

The move comes one day after wide receiver Diontae Johnson was activated from a one-day stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Steelers (8-7-1) visit the Baltimore Ravens (8-8) on Sunday in the regular-season finale. Pittsburgh can clinch a playoff berth win a win as well as an Indianapolis Colts’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and any result other than a tie in the Las Vegas Raiders-Los Angeles Chargers game.

Haden, 32, has 34 tackles in 11 games (all starts) this season. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has 611 tackles and 29 interceptions in 157 games (148 starts) in 12 seasons with the Cleveland Browns (2010-16) and Steelers.

Green, 23, started the Steelers’ first 15 games this season before sitting out their 26-14 victory over the Browns on Monday with a calf injury. He was selected by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Illinois.

The Steelers also placed wide receiver James Washington on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) looks to hand off the ball in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos take 12 off COVID list, put Teddy Bridgewater on IR

The Denver Broncos removed a dozen players from the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday and placed three others on season-ending reserve, including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater (concussion), safety Kareem Jackson (back) and guard Dalton Risner (elbow) will miss Saturday’s Week 18 finale against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs (11-5).

Drew Lock will make his third straight start under center for the Broncos (7-9), who have dropped three straight and four of their last five.

The players removed from the COVID list were (in alphabetical order): DL McTelvin Agim, ILB Baron Browning, CB Bryce Callahan, OLB Bradley Chubb, OLB Jonathan Cooper, CB Mike Ford, WR Jerry Jeudy, T Bobby Massie, WR Tim Patrick, DL Mike Purcell, S Caden Sterns and OLB Stephen Weatherly.

WR Tyrie Cleveland was activated from the practice squad’s COVID list.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates a sack in the second quarter against the Washington Football Team at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys LB Micah Parsons enters COVID protocol

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons entered the COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, jeopardizing his shot at an NFL record this Saturday night.

The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite has 13 sacks heading into the Week 18 finale at Philadelphia, two shy of breaking the rookie record set by the Tennessee Titans’ Jevon Kearse with 14.5 in 1999.

Parsons, 22, was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

He has started all 16 games for the NFC East champion Cowboys (11-5) and has 84 tackles, 30 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles. He is tied with Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt for the NFL lead with 20 tackles for loss.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) celebrates after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bengals RB Joe Mixon tests positive for COVID-19

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports.

The first-time Pro Bowl selection will miss the AFC North champions’ regular season finale on Sunday against the visiting Cleveland Browns, per the report.

Cincinnati placed five players on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday: safety Vonn Bell, linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, defensive end Trey Hendrickson, center Trey Hopkins and guard Quinton Spain.

Mixon ranks second in the NFL with a career-high 1,205 rushing yards and is fourth with 13 rushing touchdowns.

Mixon, 25, has rushed for 4,564 yards and 33 scores and added 171 catches for 1,322 yards and eight touchdowns in 66 games (57 starts) since the Bengals drafted him in the second round in 2017.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Green Bay Packers punter Corey Bojorquez (7) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Packers clear five players from COVID protocol

Five Green Bay players cleared the COVID-19 protocol in time for Sunday night’s game with the Minnesota Vikings, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst confirmed.

Punter Corey Bojorquez, tight ends Marcedes Lewis and Tyler Davis, guard Ben Braden and linebacker Oren Burks are active for the Week 17 contest between the host Packers (12-3) and NFC North rival Vikings (7-8).

Bojorquez, Lewis and Burks have appeared in all 15 games this season. Davis has played in 12 and Braden in seven.

Three Green Bay players remain on the reserve/COVID-19 list: rookie return specialist Amari Rodgers, defensive lineman Kingsley Keke and linebacker Chauncey Rivers.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins (COVID) out Sunday

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Sunday night’s must-win game at Green Bay, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Cousins, who reportedly is unvaccinated, will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the second time in 2021. He was also in the NFL’s health and safety protocol during the preseason in August.

ESPN reported Cousins had symptoms, reported them to the team and tested positive.

With backup Sean Mannion also still on the COVID list as of Friday, rookie Kellen Mond would be in line to make his NFL debut when the Vikings (7-8) visit the Packers (12-3).

Cousins, 33, is the only quarterback to take snaps this season for Minnesota. He has completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 3,971 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 15 starts.

Mannion, 29, entered the protocol last Sunday.

Mond, 22, was selected in the third round out of Texas A&M in the 2021 NFL Draft. He passed for 9,661 yards and 71 touchdowns in four seasons with the Aggies.

–Field Level Media

Indianapolis Colts safety Jahleel Addae (41) warms up to face the Texans on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Indianapolis Colts Versus Houston Texans On Sunday Dec 5 2021 At Nrg Stadium In Houston Texas

Colts take S Jahleel Addae, RB Marlon Mack off COVID list

The Indianapolis Colts activated safety Jahleel Addae and running back Marlon Mack from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.

Starting quarterback Carson Wentz and six others remain in the health and safety protocol, including three members of the practice squad.

The Colts (9-6) trail the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans by one game entering Sunday’s Week 17 contest against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders (8-7).

Addae, 31, made his first start of the season on Christmas Day and registered six tackles in the Colts’ 22-16 win at Arizona. He has 13 tackles in seven appearances this season.

Mack, 25, has rushed 28 times for 101 yards in six games.

In addition to Wentz, the Colts’ COVID-19 list includes cornerback T.J. Carrie, linebacker Malik Jefferson and right tackle Braden Smith. The three players on the practice squad/COVID list are quarterback James Morgan, tight end Eli Wolf and cornerback Chris Wilcox.

–Field Level Media

Jacksonville Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) celebrates after he intercepted an errant pass from Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) during late third quarter action. The Jaguars were tied with the Bills 6 to 6 at the end of the first half and went on to win the game with a final score of 9 to 6. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Buffalo Bills at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL, Sunday, November 7, 2021. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

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Jags activate Josh Allen, Myles Jack, others from COVID list

The Jacksonville Jaguars activated linebackers Josh Allen and Myles Jack, wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. and four others from the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.

Tight end Luke Farrell, defensive end/linebacker Jordan Smith and Damien Wilson also cleared the NFL’s health and safety protocol, as did rookie running back Travis Etienne. Etienne has been on injured reserve since suffering a season-ending Lisfranc injury to his left foot in the preseason.

The Jaguars (2-13) visit the New England Patriots (9-6) on Sunday.

Wilson leads the team with 99 tackles and Jack ranks second with 97. Allen has a team-high 5.5 sacks. Shenault is second on the squad in receptions (56) and receiving yards (544).

Jacksonville also signed veteran offensive lineman D.J. Fluker to the practice squad.

Fluker, 30, was a first-round pick in 2013 and has played in 108 games (96 starts) with the San Diego Chargers (2013-16), New York Giants (2017), Seattle Seahawks (2018-19) and Baltimore Ravens (2020).

–Field Level Media