The New England Patriots have placed quarterback Cam Newton on the COVID-19 reserve list, a person familiar with the result told USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones.The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of revealing player medical information.
The designation means a player has either tested positive for the coronavirus or has been in “close contact” with an infected person, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported Newton did indeed test positive. He will not play in the Patriots’ Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which the league has said will be pushed back from Sunday to either Monday or Tuesday.
“Late last night, we received notice that a Patriots player tested positive for COVID-19,” the Patriots said in a statement – without naming a specific player – on Saturday. “The player immediately entered self-quarantine. Several additional players, coaches and staff who have been in close contact with the player received point of care tests this morning and all were negative for COVID-19.
As far as whether the team would still play on Sunday, the Patriots said “we are in close consultation with the NFL, as well as our team of independent doctors and specialists, and will follow their guidance … . The health and safety of our team, as well as our opponent, are of highest priority.”
The Chiefs also have a positive player, the league confirmed. Per NFL Network, Chiefs practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has been placed on the COVID-19 list. In Newton’s absence, either Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer will quarterback New England. The NFL is already navigating an outbreak in the Tennessee Titans organization.
The team has reported 18 positive tests this week among players and staff, leading to the postponement of its Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Last Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons placed rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell on the COVID-19 reserve list. The team still played its game against the Chicago Bears the next day, and neither team has reported any positive tests.
If the Patriots-Chiefs contest requires further postponement beyond early next week, the NFL will likely alter the schedule in a similar manner it adjusted the Steelers’ and Titans’ schedules. Their matchup was moved to Week 7 (both teams’ byes are now this week), while Baltimore Ravens saw their own bye week moved up to Week 7 to play the Steelers one week later than originally scheduled during Week 8.