The National Football League is limping toward the finish line of its Covid-19 plagued regular season, and the worst-case scenarios are starting to emerge.
The latest will see the Denver Broncos forced to play the New Orleans Saints on Sunday with none of its three quarterbacks available for duty.
The Broncos’ three eligible quarterbacks, Drew Locks, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles, were ruled ineligible for the game because of Covid-19 close contacts, the team said Saturday night.
UPDATE: Fox’s NFL coverage reported that the Broncos wanted Quality Control coach Rob Calabrese to suit up at QB today. Calabrese reportedly has tested negative, knows the playbook inside and out, and took the snaps yesterday at practice. But the NFL wouldn’t allow it.
Although the Broncos did not name the Covid-19 contact the three came into contact with, it’s likely that Jeff Driskel, the reserve quarterback, was the guilty party. He was moved to the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, and all of the remaining quarterbacks had close contact.
The Broncos will not forfeit Sunday’s game, according to an ESPN report.
Lock, Rypien and Bortles were taken from the practice field and ordered to isolate on Saturday. The team issued a brief statement saying none of them showed symptoms of the virus.
“All three have consistently tested negative for COVID-19 via both daily PCR testing and additional POC testing administered as a precaution,” the Broncos said.
Running back Royce Freeman will serve as the emergency replacement, according to Broncos coach Vic Fangio.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio has previously said running back Royce Freeman is the team’s emergency quarterback. Wide receiver Kendall Hinton, a member of the team’s practice squad, played quarterback at Wake Forest before converting to wide receiver in the pros.
Sportsbooks have halted betting on the game, which had the Saints as six-points favorites before the coronavirus news.
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