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Notes: NFL tightens COVID-19 protocols, allows for quicker return-to-play

Breaking down some changes to the COVID-19 protocols.

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Amid quickly growing numbers of players landing on reserve/COVID-19 lists, the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed on changes to its protocols that include the return of intensive restrictions and easier return-to-play requirements.

In a memo Thursday, the league released details on a sort of lockdown through the end of Week 15 games that apply to players and staff, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not. Per the memo obtained by NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, some of these restrictions include:

  • Wearing a mask inside the club facility, including the weight rooms
  • No in-person meetings unless outdoors or in the practice bubble, socially distanced. All other meetings must be virtual
  • No more than 15 players in the weight room
  • No eating together, meaning meals must be grab-and-go unless individuals can sit 10 feet apart
  • No dining out while traveling or receiving visitors
  • No public appearances or charity events
  • No gathering in groups of more than three outside of the club facility or team travel
  • No indoor nightclubs or bars, unless there are less than 10 people and the person is wearing PPE

There are more details below:

There are also new return-to-play protocols that make it easier for vaccinated and asymptomatic players to return to the lineup. Those players can return three ways, including providing two negative PCR tests. There are a lot of details on that one — you can read more on that here.

The Detroit Lions roster was decimated by a combination of COVID and flu cases against the Denver Broncos last Sunday. On Thursday, safety Jalen Elliott became the ninth Lion to be put on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

And onto your notes.

  • Following the Thanksgiving game, Penei Swell ranked among PFF’s top rookies for the first time since Week 1. He came in at last, No. 15. Wellllllllll this week he’s jumped 8 spots, landing at No. 7. Sewell’s slow climb up this list continues. They’ve found a winning formula with him at right tackle as the rookie continues to open up holes. He’s already one of the best in the league at zone combo blocks working up to the second level. This past game against Denver, he earned a career-high 91.0 overall grade.”

  • Our fearless leader Jeremy joined our friends across the pond at Roar of the Lions UK for their 100th episode! Take a gander:

  • Another piece from PFF offers Week 15 predictions for all 32 quarterbacks. The prediction for Jared Goff — incredibly savage. “Most likely to rarely even give his offense a chance at success.”

  • Enjoy — er, experience? View? I dunno — the sights and sounds of last Sunday’s matchup against the Broncos.