On Monday, the Center for Disease Control altered its recommendations regarding COVID-19. Given the new Omicron variant of the virus, the CDC reduced the recommended isolation time for individuals who test COVID-19-positive from 10 days to five, assuming the person is asymptomatic. The reason for this reduction, per the CDC’s website, is because “the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”
On Tuesday, the NFL followed suit and made a significant change to their COVID policy. Effective immediately, NFL players—regardless of vaccination status—are permitted to return to the team after five days of quarantining, provided that the following things are true (via a league memo provided by Tom Pelissero):
- 24 hours have passed since the individual has had a fever without fever-reducing medication
- Other symptoms (e.g., cough) have been resolved for improved
- The player is cleared by the team’s primary sports care physician
- Local regulations and requirements are satisfied
That means a vaccinated or unvaccinated player can return to the active roster just five days after being placed on reserve/COVID, even if they have mild symptoms, provided the symptoms are improving. After the five days of quarantine, the players will be required to wear a mask for the next five days
Pelissero outlines some other stipulations to the policy below:
Note that return to play isn't contingent on being asymptomatic. You need:— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 28, 2021
- 5 days since initial positive swab
- At least 24 hours since last fever
- Other symptoms (e.g. cough) "resolved or improved"
- Cleared by team doctor in consultation with ICS and NFL
For the Detroit Lions, that means that wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who was placed on reserve/COVID on Monday, now has a path to play this week. Tight end Brock Wright would have to test out, as he wouldn’t clear the five-day window until Sunday morning. And with the Lions on the road in Seattle, he wouldn’t be able to travel with the team on Saturday.
- The Lions did a little book-keeping on Tuesday, taking over $1 million of Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s remaining salary and converting it into a signing bonus. After all of the roster moves they had to make today, it’s understandable why—especially considering they had less than $600,000 in cap space, per the NFL Players Association’s public salary cap report:
The Lions, who were airtight to the cap, converted $1.335M of OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai remaining base salary into a singing bonus, creating $1M in space for the rest of this season.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 28, 2021
- Speaking of Vaitai, Chris Burke of The Athletic did a dual interview with Vaitai and rookie tackle Penei Sewell ($) on their growing friendship in the locker room.
- Heartwarming moment from the Lions/Falcons game, but from Atlanta running back Cordarrelle Patterson:
- Justin Rogers has another good film breakdown ($) of what went wrong for the Lions in the red zone against the Falcons last week PLUS what made Jalen Reeves-Maybin so good.
- T.J. Hockenson posted some frustrating thoughts on Instagram earlier this week:
- It’s Seahawks week, and the Lions just so happen to have the same officiating crew that missed the battled ball call the last time Detroit traveled to Seattle. Fun.
- Rest in peace, John Madden.