Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) loses his helmet as he makes a catch against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs put WR Antonio Brown on COVID-19 list

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers put wide receiver Antonio Brown on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.

Brown will need to be asymptomatic and return two negative tests 24 hours apart to be eligible to play in the team’s Week 3 game Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

Brown is fully vaccinated, given coach Bruce Arians’ proclamation earlier this month that the team hit the 100 percent threshold for vaccines.

Brown has six receptions for 138 yards and one touchdown on 10 targets in two games this season. He started the season opener against Dallas and had five catches for 121 yards and a score.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Western Michigan Broncos head coach Tim Lester on the sideline in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Western Michigan coach Tim Lester (COVID-19) to miss Saturday game

Western Michigan coach Tim Lester will miss Saturday’s game against San Jose State after testing positive for COVID-19.

Lester, 44, said Tuesday that he was tested after feeling mild symptoms on Sunday — the day after a big 44-41 road win at Pitt.

“Thankfully, due to being fully vaccinated, I am feeling OK,” Lester said in a statement. “Our program has practiced, and will continue to practice athletic department safety guidelines and protocols.”

Lester, who is in his fifth year at Western Michigan, said he will be away from the team this week but will assist virtually in preparing for the Spartans. He did not announce who will fill in as head coach against San Jose State.

The Broncos (2-1) will play their Mid-American Conference opener at Buffalo on Oct. 2.

Lester quarterbacked the Broncos in the late 1990s.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) runs against Atlanta Falcons safety Duron Harmon (21) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles TE Zach Ertz tests positive for COVID-19

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz was placed on the COVID/reserve list on Monday.

There is ample time for Ertz to get back in the fold, as Philadelphia plays the Dallas Cowboys on “Monday Night Football” to end Week 3.

Ertz would require two negative tests 24 hours apart to be cleared medically under the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated players. Ertz has discussed his decision to be vaccinated publicly.

Dallas Goedert has worked his way ahead of Ertz in the Eagles’ tight end rotation.

Ertz had one reception for six yards Sunday in a the Eagles’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He caught two passes for 34 yards in the opener at Atlanta.

–Field Level Media

Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery is shown during the second day of Green Bay Packers rookie minicamp Saturday, May 15, 2021 in Green Bay, Wis.

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Packers DL coach Jerry Montgomery (COVID-19) to miss game

Green Bay Packers defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery will miss Monday night’s game against the visiting Detroit Lions due to COVID-19 protocols, the team announced Saturday.

Montgomery reportedly hasn’t attended Green Bay practices this week.

The Packers said that defensive quality control coach Wendel Davis, inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti and outside linebackers coach Mike Smith will all help with coaching the defensive line against the Lions.

Montgomery is in his seventh season on the Green Bay, the past four as defensive line coach.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA;   Los Angeles Rams fans celebrate after a touchdown in the second half against the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

SoFi Stadium fans must have vaccinations or negative COVID tests

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is requiring fans attending Rams and Chargers games to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result within 72 hours.

The mandate takes effect beginning Oct. 7 at all outdoor events with at least 10,000 attendees and impacts anyone age 12 or over. Children do not need to have been tested but must wear a mask. Adults also must wear masks.

The first Chargers game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood under the health department edict will be Oct. 10 against the Cleveland Browns. For the Rams, it’s Oct. 24 against the Detroit Lions.

Fans must have had the final dose of their vaccine at least two weeks before game day and must show their vaccination card or an electronic version of their card. If they have not been fully vaccinated, they must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours before event time.

People attending NFL games in Buffalo, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Seattle also must be fully vaccinated.

The Los Angeles County order also will apply to any postseason games that might be played at Dodger Stadium, at USC football games at the Coliseum or any pro soccer games with more than 10,000 people in attendance.

It doesn’t apply to games at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where UCLA football plays, because the city of Pasadena has its own health department.

–Field Level Media

Nov 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Saints’ COVID-19 coaches outbreak up to eight

Two more New Orleans Saints coaches are slated to miss Sunday’s game against the Charlotte Panthers due to COVID-19 protocols, raising the total to eight expected to miss the contest in Charlotte, N.C.

Assistant head coach/defensive line Ryan Nielsen and pass rush specialist Brian Young will not be with the team in Charlotte, the team announced Saturday.

The team announced Friday that seven coaches would miss the game. However, one of those seven, offensive line coach Brendan Nugent, has now been cleared to be with the team on Sunday.

The team said Friday that offensive analyst Jim Chaney, offensive assistant Declan Doyle, assistant special teams coach Phil Galiano, senior offensive assistant/receivers coach Curtis Johnson, run game coordinator/tight ends coach Dan Roushar and running backs coach Joel Thomas are expected to miss the contest.

The team said the coaching responsibilities will be divided among the remaining staff.

Saints coach Sean Payton said earlier this week that the entire coaching staff is vaccinated.

–Field Level Media

Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Saints helmets during the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Seven Saints assistants out Sunday due to COVID-19 protocol

Seven New Orleans assistant coaches will miss Sunday’s game at Carolina due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Saints announced Friday that offensive analyst Jim Chaney, offensive assistant Declan Doyle, assistant special teams coach Phil Galiano, senior offensive assistant/receivers coach Curtis Johnson, offensive line coach Brendan Nugent, run game coordinator/tight ends coach Dan Roushar and running backs coach Joel Thomas will miss the game against the Panthers.

The team said their responsibilities will be divided among the remaining offensive staff.

Reports of the positive tests first surfaced on Tuesday.

All of the New Orleans coaches have been vaccinated. They will need to show consecutive negative COVID-19 tests 24 hours apart before they are eligible to return.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) warms up prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Bills’ Cole Beasley, Reid Ferguson offer to buy road tickets for unvaccinated fans

Buffalo Bills receiver Cole Beasley remains defiant in his stance against the COVID-19 vaccination.

He disagrees with the rule that only vaccinated fans can attend the team’s home games at Highmark Stadium.

So does long snapper Reid Ferguson.

The players told unvaccinated fans via social media this week that if they could find tickets to a road game they can attend, the players will pick up the tab.
Currently the Bills are one of four teams — the Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints — to play in stadiums where fans are required to submit proof of vaccination for entry.

Earlier this week, Twitter user Chris Hauquitz tweeted his disappointment at Beasley.

“@Bease11 sad day for me as a Buffalo fan. I was bringing my 10 year old daughter to her first game in December all the way from Albuquerque,” Hauquitz wrote. “Already bought tickets. I won’t get the shot so now I don’t know what to do. I probably need to sell the tickets and find an away game.”

It got Beasley’s attention.

“If you find an away game you are able to go to then I will buy the tickets for you guys,” Beasley responded. “DM me names and every thing (and) I’ll figure out the best way to make it happen. Wish she could witness the mafia!”

Hauquitz, a father of five, told the Buffalo News that he had COVID-19 and believes he has the antibodies. He added he believes the vaccines were rushed to market and the information that is available “seems to be one-sided.”

Ferguson had a similar exchange with a fan from Nebraska.

The Bills play road games this season against fellow AFC East teams Miami, New York Jets and New England, as well as in Kansas City, Jacksonville, Tennessee and Tampa. They play in New Orleans in November, but vaccinations are mandated for Saints’ home games.

Hauquitz told The Buffalo News that Beasley was working to get tickets for the Chiefs game.

–Field Level Media

Aug 27, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers offensive guard John Miller (67) runs onto the field during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers OL John Miller discusses COVID battle: ‘It’s real’

Carolina Panthers offensive lineman John Miller was a full participant at practice Thursday for the first time after he missed 10 days on the COVID-19 list.

Miller told reporters that he had certain symptoms “pretty bad” and it was not so simple returning to football shape as the Panthers prepare for a Week 2 tilt with the New Orleans Saints.

“I did a little conditioning, and I was like, ‘Wow, my lung capacity is not what it used to be,’” Miller said.

Miller was not vaccinated for COVID-19, based on NFL protocols that state unvaccinated players must spend at least 10 days on the reserve list set aside for the virus.

Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady said the team expects Miller will be available to play Sunday if called upon.

Miller, 28, is in his seventh NFL season and his second with Carolina after playing for the Buffalo Bills (2015-18) and Cincinnati Bengals (2019). He has played in 74 games, all starts, in his career, including 14 starts for the Panthers last year.

Miller said he watched the Panthers’ Week 1 win over the New York Jets from his bed at home as he continued to recover from the coronavirus.

“It’s COVID and it’s out there and it’s real,” Miller said. “It has been affecting every one of us.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) talks to head coach Sean Payton and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton: COVID-stricken Saints have ‘Ted Lasso’ feel with few coaches

Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints are coping with preparation for Week 2 all while facing the challenges of relocation and a COVID-19 outbreak that decimated the offensive coaching staff.

Payton said team meetings and practice formats are altered in major ways as the Saints (1-0) get ready to visit the Carolina Panthers (1-0) on Sunday.

“I said to (offensive coordinator) Pete (Carmichael) and (assistant offensive line coach) Zach (Strief) today, it’s like Ted Lasso with the three or four of us left,” Payton said Wednesday.

Already the Saints adjusted their preparation by moving the entire office and practice environment from Metairie, La., due to challenges created by Hurricane Ida. The Saints played their Week 1 “home” game at Jacksonville and are practicing in Texas for this upcoming game and likely at least one more week before assessing a return to their Louisiana facility.

This week down position coaches at wide receiver, running back, offensive line and offensive coordinator, Payton assembled meetings with smaller groups of players. The majority of his assistants, all of whom are vaccinated according to Payton, are working remotely and using video conferencing to communicate with players directly.

To return for Sunday’s game in Charlotte, each coach needs two negative COVID test results.

The lone player to test positive is wide receiver Michael Thomas, who is on injured reserve. Payton said Thomas, who was placed on the reserve/COVID list, is also vaccinated.

–Field Level Media