Roger Goodell on Broncos: Multiple high-risk close contacts not enough reason to reschedule Saints game

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the decision to play last Sunday’s New Orleans-Broncos game was by the book.

Even without third-team quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for COVID-19 last Thursday, the Broncos lost Saturday night to Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and practice squad member Blake Bortles after the league deemed them “ risky close contacts, ” meaning five days of isolation.

In the 31-3 loss against New Orleans, the Broncos were forced to use exhibition team receiver Kendall Hinton as a quarterback.

“We’ve had multiple risky contacts (in) multiple games throughout the year, I believe it was October and then back even further,” Goodell said when The Denver Post asked him in a conference call about not moving the game. . “With our union, we have offered our clubs a lot more flexibility and expanded the (practice team) rosters and given them more opportunities to move players from one list to another. …

“Our focus has been that when we have a risky contact, we are going to include them in the protocol and they will not be eligible to play until they are out of it and we will not reschedule the games for that purpose, even if. you have multiple injuries in a specific position group, that’s what we agreed with the clubs at the beginning of the season and we stuck with that. “

The Broncos had four positive tests last week – two non-coaching staff, Driskel and returnee / recipient Diontae Spencer – and then had to put Lock, Rypien and Bortles on the COVID-19 / reserve list; they were activated on Tuesday.

The competition did not give the Broncos any leeway as they felt the spread of the virus was limited.

“Anytime there’s a positive test – player, coach, staff – you go in and do the contact tracking we’ve been talking about and determine those high-risk close contacts,” said NFL chief physician Dr. “We do that without taking into account the identity of that person, ie whether they are coach, player or staff member, and if they are a player, what position they play. In the situation with Denver, we did what we did with all these other positive cases. We did have new information that came to light and allowed us to identify extra-risky close contacts. “

The Broncos can be subject to sanctions (such as a fine or forfeiture of a design choice) by the league office. Coach Vic Fangio said on Wednesday that the Broncos quarterbacks had been fined.

On Monday, Fangio met with virtual president / CEO Joe Ellis and general manager John Elway to discuss how to avoid more problems.

“It was a good, productive meeting,” said Fangio. “Everyone gave their opinion and their feelings and their opinion on everything that has to do with COVID (-19) and how we have been dealing with it since the beginning of the training camp.”

Keeping a quarterback isolated from the team has been a talk since Saturday, and Fangio said the Broncos kept Bortles away from training – he attended meetings pretty much like the rest of the players, got his virus test, and left the facility for practice. .

“We go here every day and see how the test results keep coming in,” said Fangio.

Callahan to IR. A few hours after Fangio said corner-back Bryce Callahan “could probably miss a few weeks,” he was placed on an injured reserve (foot).

Callahan will miss at least three games (in Kansas City, Carolina and vs. Buffalo). Fangio said Callahan did not get a broken bone. Walking back Phillip Lindsay (knee), outside linebacker Malik Reed (shin) and safety Trey Marshall (shin) did not train on Wednesday.

About Lindsay, Fangio said, “I think we are optimistic he will be able to go (Sunday).”

Defensive end Shelby Harris, who has been on the COVID-19 / reserve list, was activated and returned to practice on a limited basis. Also limited were receiver Jerry Jeudy (ankle) and security PJ Locke (shoulder).

Parks claimed. Former Broncos security Will Parks is back after being filed for waivers. Parks, a sixth round draft pick in 2016, played 62 games (15 starts) for the Broncos over four years. He signed a one-year contract with his hometown Philadelphia Eagles in the off-season, but only played six games (three starts, 13 tackles).

Due to testing rules, Parks are not eligible to play against Kansas City.

Footnotes. Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who missed five games in his fight against the corona virus, is back to work part-time. When Donatell is allowed to attend matches, Fangio said the likely option is to put him in the coach box. … Fangio said quarterback Kyle Shurmur, son of Broncos attack coordinator Pat Shurmur, started the COVID-19 testing process “in case the other three boys failed to pass their test.” … More than 50 Broncos players participate in the competition’s ‘My Cause, My Cleats’ program, which can decorate their cleats to honor the cause of their choice.