Oct 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich celebrates after a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 34-31. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Rolovich sues Washington State over vaccine-related dismissal

Former Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich filed a lawsuit against the university, its athletic director Pat Chun and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee seeking damages after he was dismissed last season for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Washington State fired Rolovich and four of his assistant coaches for cause in October 2021 because they didn’t comply with the state’s vaccine mandate at the time. All state employees were required to be vaccinated by Oct. 19 of that year.

Rolovich had applied for a religious exemption and was denied.

Rolovich’s attorney, Brian Fahling, said in October 2021 that his client planned to pursue legal action. A tort claim was filed earlier this year as a prerequisite for the 32-page lawsuit, which was officially filed Friday.

It was originally reported by the Seattle Times that Rolovich sought $25 million in damages in the claim, but the suit does not specify how much he is seeking.

“Mr. Rolovich’s lawsuit against Washington State University is wholly without merit,” a school spokesperson said in a statement to multiple outlets.

“Washington State University carried out the Governor’s COVID-19 vaccination proclamation for state employees in a fair and lawful manner, including in its evaluation of employee requests for medical or religious exemptions and accommodations. For multiple reasons, Mr. Rolovich did not qualify, and the university firmly stands by that decision. Washington State University will vigorously defend itself against Mr. Rolovich’s claims.”

Rolovich was the state’s highest-paid employee at $3.2 million per year. Yahoo Sports reported at the time of his firing that Rolovich had three years and approximately $9 million left on his contract.

–Field Level Media

Aug 16, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during training camp at State Farm Stadium.

Nfl Cardinals Daily Training Camp

Cardinals’ J.J. Watt out for two preseason games with COVID

Star defensive end J.J. Watt has tested positive for COVID-19, the Arizona Cardinals said ahead of their preseason game against the visiting Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night.

Watt was ruled out not only for the matchup against the Ravens, but for the Cardinals’ preseason finale Saturday at the Tennessee Titans.

The NFL stopped its official COVID-19 protocol in March but still follows CDC guidelines that call for five days in isolation after a positive test.

Watt, 33, is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and five-time first-team All-Pro who is entering his second season with the Cardinals. He played just seven games in his first season with the team before suffering a shoulder injury that required season-ending surgery, though he made it back for Arizona’s loss in the wild-card round to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

The longtime Houston Texan has played in 135 career games (all starts) and has 102 sacks, 26 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries and 547 tackles.

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins tests positive for COVID-19

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins tested positive for COVID-19, head coach Kevin O’Connell said Friday.

The team sent Cousins home from training camp on Thursday with an undisclosed illness.

Cousins, who missed a game late last season after a positive test, will not play in Sunday’s preseason opener at Las Vegas.

Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion are competing for the backup role. Both figure to see plenty of action against the Raiders.

Cousins, who turns 34 on Aug. 19, is entering his fifth season with the Vikings and 11th overall. He passed for 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 16 games last season.

Overall, he has thrown for 32,593 yards, 223 touchdowns and 91 picks in 125 games (120 starts) with Washington (2012-17) and Minnesota.

The NFL stopped its COVID-19 protocol in March but still follows CDC guidelines that call for five days in isolation after a positive test.

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2022; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll answers questions during a press conference following training camp practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll tests positive for COVID-19

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll tested positive for COVID-19 and is participating in team meetings virtually from home.

The Seahawks said in a statement that Carroll, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive Sunday and is “experiencing mild symptoms.”

Carroll, 70, is entering his 13th season as coach of the Seahawks. The team is coming off a 7-10 campaign in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Jul 30, 2022; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks on during training camp practice at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray tests positive for COVID-19

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss at least five days.

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury made the announcement to reporters on Monday.

Murray is fresh off signing a five-year contract worth up to $230.5 million with $160 million guaranteed. Reports surfaced that the deal included an “independent study addendum,” which Murray faced questions about before the team eventually removed the clause last week.

Then he sat out Saturday’s practice to rest his arm.

Colt McCoy will get first-team reps in Murray’s absence.

Murray, 24, threw for 3,787 yards and 24 touchdowns last season, adding five touchdowns on the ground. He went 9-5 in his 14 starts and was named to his second straight Pro Bowl.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Micah Parsons (11) rushes against Washington Football Team offensive tackle Sam Cosmi (76) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dr. Allen Sills: NFL bracing for COVID surge as playoffs begin

There’s one wildcard the NFL expects to crash the playoffs: COVID-19.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills said on Thursday that overseas patters of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus indicate the NFL should brace for high numbers the next “2-3 weeks.”

“When we start talking about projecting where we’re going to be, I like to quote that great medical scientist Yogi Berra, who says it’s really difficult to make projections, especially about the future,” Sills said in an NFL Network interview. “If we’ve learned anything, it’s that COVID can take us a lot of different directions. If this follows the trend we’ve seen in other countries, we do expect there will be a rapid decline with Omicron.

“I would see us being in the thick of this the next 2-3 weeks. Then hopefully seeing declining cases as we get later in our playoffs. We’ve been wrong about where this thing goes before.”

Several prominent players were among the lot added to the COVID/reserve list this week, including front-and-center starters for playoff teams such as Bengals running back Joe Mixon, Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith and Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.

Parsons is officially out for Sunday’s game and won’t travel to Philadelphia with the team.

Protocol for COVID-19 testing and return to play shifted along with CDC guidelines shortening quarantine periods from 10 days to five days.

For playoff teams, that makes next Tuesday and Wednesday critical for testing, although asymptomatic, vaccinated players can be cleared before the five-day quarantine window.

An unvaccinated player testing positive next Tuesday would not be cleared to return for a Saturday wild-card game. The same is true of Wednesday testing for players scheduled to play wildcard Sunday.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday the team is opening hotel rooms at the team headquarters, The Star, for players planning to create a “bubble” environment for the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Bears’ Justin Fields, Panthers’ Stephon Gilmore enter COVID protocol

Quarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears and cornerback Stephon Gilmore of the Carolina Panthers were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday in advance of their teams’ season finales this weekend.

Both the Bears and Panthers have been eliminated from playoff contention in the NFC.

Fields didn’t play in a Week 17 victory over the New York Giants because of an ankle injury, but coach Matt Nagy had said Wednesday that Fields would start this weekend when the Bears (6-10) face the Vikings (7-9) in Minnesota.

The starting job Sunday will fall to veteran Andy Dalton if Fields isn’t released from the protocol before game time.

Fields, the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is 2-8 as a starter. He’s completed just 58.9 percent of his pass attempts for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Gilmore, acquired by the Panthers in a trade with the New England Patriots in October, has played in eight games (three starts) for Carolina. The 31-year-old, a two-time All-Pro, had two interceptions, two passes defensed and 16 tackles on the season.

The Panthers also on Thursday placed rookie wide receiver Shi Smith on the COVID list. He has six catches for 104 yards in six games.

The Panthers (5-11) will end their season Sunday at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4).

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; (Editors Notes: Caption Correction) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings activate QB Kirk Cousins from COVID list

The Minnesota Vikings activated quarterback Kirk Cousins from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, and coach Mike Zimmer said the veteran will start Sunday in the season finale.

Cousins, who is unvaccinated, tested positive last week for the virus. He missed the team’s Week 17 game, a 37-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Zimmer said Wednesday that Minnesota’s starters will play on Sunday against the Chicago Bears (6-10), even though the Vikings (7-9) have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Sean Mannion made his first start of the season against the Packers, throwing for 189 yards and a touchdown.

On the season, the 33-year-old Cousins has completed 66.4 percent of his throws for 3,971 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 15 starts.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) celebrates while leaving the field after the game against the Washington Football Team at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles place 12 players on COVID-19 list

The Philadelphia Eagles had 12 players test positive for COVID-19 on Monday, including defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and center Jason Kelce, according to NFL Network.

Every player has a chance to return for the team’s Week 18 game under the updated protocols, according to the report.

However, the Eagles have already clinched a playoff spot and the talk on Monday revolved around whether the team would rest its starters anyway. The Eagles (9-7), owners of the seventh and final wild card spot in the NFC, host the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.

“We’re talking through all that still. We haven’t decided anything there yet. We don’t have to decide right now,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Monday.

Tight end Dallas Goedert is also one of the positive cases, the report stated, while linebacker Genard Avery, safety Marcus Epps, guard Nate Herbig, running back Jordan Howard, cornerback Avonte Maddox, safety Rodney McLeod, running back Boston Scott, linebacker Alex Singleton and tight end Jack Stoll all were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Sirianni also said second-year linebacker Davion Taylor is done for the season. He was put on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury in Week 11 against New Orleans. He started six games this season.

In other moves Monday, the Eagles activated cornerback Andre Chachere from the reserve/COVID-19 list and released kicker Matt McCrane from the practice squad.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) runs the ball in the fourth quarter against the Washington Football Team at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos’ COVID list grows to 16, including Jerry Jeudy, Bradley Chubb

The Denver Broncos added five more players to the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday as they deal with an outbreak ahead of their Week 17 game at the Los Angeles Chargers.

Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, defensive lineman McTelvin Agim and linebackers Bradley Chubb, Jonathon Cooper and Baron Browning were placed on the list.

Jeudy, Chubb and Browning are starters. Denver coach Vic Fangio told reporters that those three, plus Agim, tested positive.

Other Broncos on the list that numbers 16 include wide receiver Tim Patrick, running back Mike Boone and cornerbacks Bryce Callahan and Mike Ford. But the Broncos aren’t concerned they will be too short-handed to play.

“I’m zeroed in on a Sunday kickoff,” Fangio told reporters. “Until I’m told otherwise, I’m ready for a 1:05 (p.m.) kickoff West Coast time.

The Broncos called up four players from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements, including Travis Fulgham, who led the Philadelphia Eagles in receiving last season.

Jeudy has hauled in 36 catches for 437 yards this season, his second in the NFL, over nine games (five starts). Chubb has started all six of his appearances in 2021; both players, former first-round draft picks, have missed time due to injuries.

Also, starting receiver Courtland Sutton’s testing results haven’t been confirmed and he could be added to the list. The team held Sutton out of Friday’s walkthrough practice.

Defensive line coach Bill Kollar is also on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the only Denver coach in protocol as of Friday.

–Field Level Media