LA Rams could benefit after NFL/NFLPA agree to change COVID-19 protocols
The LA Rams are the lone NFL team in terms of players impacted by COVID-19, now with 25 players on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list. But both the Washington Football Team and the Cleveland Browns are at 21 players respectively. That is a huge impact on NFL teams that carry just 53 players on their active roster, and an additional 16 players on their practice squad.
The Rams surge came after announcing an additional nine players would be added to the team’s COVID list, which was already bursting with 16 players. The latest places the Rams at 25 players out. All of them are fully vaccinated. The Rams organization has followed the rules. And yet, here we are:
The NFL and NFLPA did meet to revise the protocols. How did that turn out?
The latest story by ESPN’s Dan Graziano lays out the new rules in a smartly written piece about the new football protocols. But if you want to see the rule changes for yourself, NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport provides the latest memo from the NFL regarding the new rules.
Rapaport even provided documents citing examples of the new protocols:
Of course, you can read the source documentation. But if you want to skip past the minutiae, here is the basic summary of “Testing Out” procedures.
NFL “Testing Out” protocol changes
The biggest changes to the rules focus upon the methods to reinstate a player or referred to as “Testing Out” on the new NFL memo released on December 16, 2021. Any player who tests positive must be tested daily. To test out, players must be asymptomatic for 24 hours and achieve negative test results in one of three methods. Those three methods are:
OPTION I: Two PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests that are either negative or produce a CT value of 35 or greater taken a day after a positive test result.
OPTION II: One PCR test taken a day after the positive test result that is either negative or produces a CT value of 35 or greater, and a negative Mesa test result taken with 24 hours of the PCR test. (Mesa tests usually return results in less than an hour.)
OPTION III: Two negative Mesa tests taken a day after the positive results can be taken at the same time but must be taken via two separate swabs.
What does this change? The new protocols eliminate the need to produce negative test results on two consecutive days. That could mean players who test negative return a day sooner if they are fully vaccinated, exhibit no symptoms, and test negative. But don’t hold your breath on the LA Rams, or any NFL players, hopping back onto the active roster just yet.
Per the CDC website, it is possible to remain contagious for someone who is asymptomatic or after symptoms go away to remain contagious for as many as 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. Translating, that could mean that Darrell Henderson, who was placed on Reserve/COVID-19 on December 11th, could remain out of action until after December 21st. For players who tested positive after that, it could be that much longer.
Of course, the first step for the Rams is to reach bedrock. That is, to have a day or two with no new names added to their Reserve/COVID-19 roster. Until that happens, this is just going to get worse before it gets better.