Detroit Free Press
Published 6:37 AM EDT Aug 2, 2020
It used to be two traces tucked near the underside of the day-to-day transaction file and it despatched shudders throughout the NFL:
Stafford, Matthew QB Georgia
The Detroit Lions positioned quarterback Matthew Stafford on the reserve/COVID-19 checklist Saturday, reminding everyone once extra that the unconventional coronavirus is now not to be messed with.
It’s unknown, for now, whether Stafford examined obvious for the virus or merely used to be around any individual who had. Both cases require a protect on the checklist.
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However Stafford is absolutely the most practical-profile NFL player and first starting up quarterback linked to COVID-19 this summer season, and his benching — for nonetheless prolonged — is a signal of moral how precarious this season is.
To be obvious, Stafford’s health and the health of his younger household might perchance well bear to be everyone’s main concern. Stafford and his accomplice, Kelly, bear four daughters under the age of Four, including a recent child, and Kelly is 15 months away from brain surgical arrangement.
COVID-19 has killed extra than 156,000 of us nationwide thus far and infected Four.Sixty eight million, and while it looks to disproportionately impact the elderly, that’s now not always the case.
The Boston Red Sox announced Saturday that pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez would sprint away out the season after he developed a heart advise related to the virus.
Stafford might perchance well also merely completely return this season, and he will be support as quickly as this week. A player who’s been in cease contact with an infected person can return after two harmful tests inside of a 24-hour span as prolonged as they’re asymptomatic.
However that doesn’t switch the terror he despatched at some level of the NFL Saturday, amplifying the worries of many who’ve been whispering about their fears for months.
The NFL is gross to play soccer this tumble, and the league is produced from many grown males animated to position their bodies in risk for popularity and fortune that can arena their families up for a lifetime, or merely their love of the sport.
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However quite lots of these males, both players and coaches, tumble into the excessive-risk category for coronavirus in accordance to their age or weight or health ancient previous, and enjoying the sport is inherently unsafe in nature.
Stafford, by all accounts, took quite lots of the precautions clinical doctors imply to protect the virus at bay. He worked out with teammates at hundreds of parts this spring and summer season, but stated in Might perchance likely perchance also merely that players clicked their cleats in lieu of handshakes and that he used to be doing his only to quit licking his fingers earlier than touching the ball.
Just like the relaxation of his Lions teammates, Stafford used to be examined for COVID-19 thrice this week, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. He reported for his first take a look at with a keeping on his face, and when he left the finding out trailer, he pumped a squirt of sanitizer in his hand.
Despite the fact that Stafford is wholesome, Saturday’s transaction presentations how fragile soccer’s ground is. If Predominant League Baseball is a teetering Jenga tower, as Yahoo columnist Dan Wetzel wrote, the NFL is Red Panda on her unicycle tossing sexy China within the air.
The NFL has strict principles in philosophize about its amenities, who can near eager with players, and even what these players can lift out in their down time. However none of that guarantees anybody’s health.
If a player love Stafford tests obvious earlier than a sport, he’s likely to head away out a week or extra, and he might perchance well rob quite lots of of his teammates with him through contact tracing. If that happens after he’s played in a sport, there’s no telling how far the virus can spread.
The Lions fortified their backup quarterback arena this spring by signing extinct Creep Daniel to a three-twelve months deal. Daniel, presumably, will lead dawdle-throughs when the Lions delivery exercises Monday, when it looks they’ll be with out Stafford, Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson and five other players on the reserve/COVID-19 checklist.
Hockenson posted an Instagram video of himself lifting weights on Saturday, and two of the Lions’ other coronavirus obvious cases, punter Arryn Siposs and cornerback Justin Coleman, are known to be asymptomatic.
That doesn’t switch the excessive nature of the virus, and it doesn’t switch how complex a time that is.
With any luck, soccer is able to play a season this tumble, but extra importantly, with any luck it doesn’t rob anybody down making an strive.
Contact Dave Birkett at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Be taught extra on the Detroit Lions and join our Lions newsletter.