One of the NFL's standout quarterbacks is now on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Matthew Stafford was put on the list by the Detroit Lions, according to the league’s transactions report Saturday. The reserve/COVID-19 list was created for players who either test positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with an infected person. The 32-year-old Stafford is easily one of the most high-profile players to land there.
The Lions, citing NFL-NFLPA policy, have not been commenting on the medical status of players on that list. Stafford is entering his 12th season with Detroit after being drafted by the Lions with the No. 1 overall pick in 2009.
Stafford’s wife Kelly had surgery last year to remove a brain tumor.
Stafford played every game for the Lions from 2011-18, but back and hip injuries caught up with him and he missed half of last season. Detroit is coming off two straight bad seasons under coach Matt Patricia, who is under pressure to improve this year — if the NFL can even play amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Also Saturday, Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley opted out of playing this season because of family health concerns, two people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. Mosley, 28, was entering his second season with New York after signing as a free agent in 2019 following five years in Baltimore. He played in just two games last year for the Jets while dealing with a groin/core muscle injury.
Others who are opting out or were placed reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday were Seattle guard Chance Warmack (reserve/opt-out), Dallas defensive back Saivion Smith (reserve/COVID-19), and Jacksonville defensive end Lerentee McCray (reserve/opt-out).
Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he’ll remain standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but professed respect and support for those who protest racism and social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.
“I’ll always stand for the flag because of what it means to me and to honor all those who have sacrificed, who have served and died for our country, and all those who have struggled to move this country forward,” Brees said in a conference call with reporters to discuss the onset of training camp.
“I acknowledge and respect anyone who chooses to kneel or any other form of peaceful protest to bring attention to social injustice and systemic racism that so many have endured and continue to endure in our country,” Brees continued, adding that he “always will support and advocate for Black and brown communities in the fight for social justice.”
But before he even took a question, Brees opened the conference call with a statement about his introspection since early June, when he became seen by many as a symbol of white privilege for saying he would never approve of anyone disrespecting the flag by kneeling during the anthem. Brees faced a scathing backlash from several current and former Black teammates and other high-profile athletes such as LeBron James, prompting him to apologize.
David Njoku has done an end around with the Browns. After demanding a trade last month, the tight end indicated that he has changed his mind. The 2017 first-round draft pick tweeted, “I’m all in Cleveland. Time to work.‘' Apparently unhappy that the Browns signed free agent Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper and then drafted Florida Atlantic tight end Harrison Bryant this spring, Njoku had his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, ask the Browns to deal him to another team. Rosenhaus told the AP in a text message that Njoku has had “some good meetings with new Browns organization, including first-year GM Andrew Berry and he has decided to give the team his full commitment right now and go from there.” … The Cowboys released Kai Forbath, clearing the way for Greg Zuerlein to be their kicker in 2020. Forbath signed a one-year contract in March after making all 10 kicks as the midseason replacement for a struggling Brett Maher in 2019. Zuerlein signed a three-year contract with $2.3 million guaranteed just a few days later and was reunited with special teams coach John Fassel, who left the Los Angeles Rams and joined new Dallas coach Mike McCarthy’s staff … Less than a week after left tackle Nate Solder opted out of the season, the Giants extended the contract of third-year tackle Nick Gates. The Giants announced that Gates had signed a two-year extension worth at least $6 million. The Giants also confirmed they had signed placekicker Chandler Catanzaro. He reached an agreement with the team earlier this week after Aldrick Rosas was released in the wake of a hit-and-run accident in the offseason.