Jacksonville Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) celebrates after he intercepted an errant pass from Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) during late third quarter action. The Jaguars were tied with the Bills 6 to 6 at the end of the first half and went on to win the game with a final score of 9 to 6. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Buffalo Bills at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL, Sunday, November 7, 2021. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

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Jags activate Josh Allen, Myles Jack, others from COVID list

The Jacksonville Jaguars activated linebackers Josh Allen and Myles Jack, wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. and four others from the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.

Tight end Luke Farrell, defensive end/linebacker Jordan Smith and Damien Wilson also cleared the NFL’s health and safety protocol, as did rookie running back Travis Etienne. Etienne has been on injured reserve since suffering a season-ending Lisfranc injury to his left foot in the preseason.

The Jaguars (2-13) visit the New England Patriots (9-6) on Sunday.

Wilson leads the team with 99 tackles and Jack ranks second with 97. Allen has a team-high 5.5 sacks. Shenault is second on the squad in receptions (56) and receiving yards (544).

Jacksonville also signed veteran offensive lineman D.J. Fluker to the practice squad.

Fluker, 30, was a first-round pick in 2013 and has played in 108 games (96 starts) with the San Diego Chargers (2013-16), New York Giants (2017), Seattle Seahawks (2018-19) and Baltimore Ravens (2020).

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Haason Reddick (43) against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers place OLB Haason Reddick on COVID list

Carolina placed top pass rusher Haason Reddick and backup quarterback P.J. Walker on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday.

The Panthers also activated offensive linemen Pat Elflein and Dennis Daley from the list ahead of Sunday’s game at New Orleans.

Reddick has a team-high 11 sacks in 15 starts this season. The 27-year-old outside linebacker also has 65 tackles (12 for loss), 19 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Walker, 26, has completed 36 of 66 passes for 362 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in six games this season. He won his only start, a 34-10 road upset of the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10.

With the additions of Reddick and Walker, the Panthers (5-10) have 11 players in the protocols. That list includes defensive ends Brian Burns and Marquis Haynes, linebacker Shaq Thompson and defensive tackle Phil Hoskins.

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2021; San Diego, CA, USA; A general overall aerial view of the football field at Petco Park prior to the Holiday Bowl between the NC State Wolfpack and the UCLA Bruins. The game was cancelled because of  COVID-19 protocols within the UCLA program. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Holiday Bowl officially off as efforts to replace UCLA fail

Last-ditch efforts to save the 2021 Holiday Bowl officially ended Wednesday as organizers were unable to find a replacement team to face No. 18 NC State.

Due to COVID-19 issues, UCLA withdrew from Tuesday’s scheduled contest in San Diego less than six hours before kickoff at Petco Park.

“Sadly we are announcing that the 2021 SDCCU Holiday Bowl is cancelled,” read a statement posted to social media Wednesday by bowl officials. “… We look forward to coming back in 2022 and putting on one heck of a show!”

NC State, which finished 9-3, issued a statement from athletic director Boo Corrigan on social media along with a photo of Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren holding the Holiday Bowl trophy.

“After exhausting every possibility and contacting numerous schools personally and through the Holiday Bowl, we have no other option than to end our season,” Corrigan said. “As disappointing as this stunning turn of events was, we must not let it diminish the accomplishments of our 2021 football team or forget the moments of joy that they brought us.

“I commend Coach Doeren, his staff and especially our players for making great decisions and doing right things to ensure that they were ready to play every week and all the way until yesterday. I can’t wait to watch them run it back in 2022.”

The Holiday Bowl was the fifth game called off due to COVID-19 concerns, joining the Fenway Bowl, Military Bowl, Hawaii Bowl and Arizona Bowl.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2021; East Rutherford, N.J.,USA;  
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh in the first half against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Jets coach Robert Saleh clears COVID protocols

New York Jets coach Robert Saleh returned to work Wednesday after clearing COVID-19 protocols.

“It’s like the first day of school,” Saleh told reporters. “I’m ready to go another 18 weeks.”

Saleh, 42, tested positive on Dec. 22 and missed the Jets’ 26-21 defeat of the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday.

The first-year head coach wasn’t alone in rejoining New York (4-11) as it prepares for Sunday’s visit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4).

Saleh said quarterback Joe Flacco, tight end Kenny Yeboah, cornerbacks Michael Carter II and Lamar Jackson, linebackers Noah Dawkins and Hamsah Nasirildeen and defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi have also cleared the league’s health and safety protocols.

Several other players could also return soon from the COVID list, Saleh said. That includes wideout Vyncint Smith, safety Ashtyn Davis, offensive linemen Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Alijah Vera-Tucker, and defensive linemen John Franklin-Myers and Hamilcar Rashed.

–Field Level Media

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) catches a pass as Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt (57) defends in the second quarter of a Week 14 NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

San Francisco 49ers At Cincinnati Bengals Dec 12

Bengals place LB Germaine Pratt on COVID list

The Cincinnati Bengals placed starting linebacker Germaine Pratt on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday.

Pratt, 25, ranks second on the team with 91 tackles, just one fewer than safety Vonn Bell.

A third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Pratt also has two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception in 15 starts this season.

He has never missed a game in his three-year NFL career, but that streak is in jeopardy for Sunday’s contest between the Bengals (9-6) and visiting Kansas City Chiefs (11-4).

The Bengals also cleared guard Xavier Su’a-Filo to return to practice from injured reserve and removed wide receiver Mike Thomas from the COVID list.

–Field Level Media

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) warms up on the field before facing the Texans on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Indianapolis Colts Versus Houston Texans On Sunday Dec 5 2021 At Nrg Stadium In Houston Texas

NFL amends COVID protocol, cuts quarantine in half

Players can return to play from a positive test after five days of quarantine regardless of vaccination status under the terms of the latest NFL health and safety protocol update.

Effective this week and regardless of whether a player is vaccinated, a return is possible five days after a positive test and no further testing is required. Players, coaches and staff may all return without restriction provided the individual is symptom-free.

The change eliminates any fundamentally defined testing requirement for the individual to return. Each individual is responsible for self-reporting any symptoms after the five-day quarantine period ends.

However, an individual must clear at least 24 hours since any fever without the aide of fever-reducing medication; other symptoms must be “resolved or improved”; individual must be cleared by team doctor in consultation with ICS and NFL; and any local regulations or requirements have been satisfied, NFL Network reported according to a league-issued memo to all 32 teams.

Once cleared all individuals must wear a mask for five days after returning except when participating in practice or a game.

Quarantine length for unvaccinated players testing positive had been 10 days regardless of the severity of symptoms. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley were among unvaccinated individuals who tested positive under the previous protocol.

The change comes as Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, who admittedly has not been vaccinated, was placed on the COVID/reserve list. The timing is such that he would be cleared to play Sunday — if he doesn’t report symptoms common with COVID-19 — in a game with playoff implications against the Las Vegas Raiders.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Cleveland Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) look sot the bench during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney among 8 Browns cleared from COVID list

The Cleveland Browns activated defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and seven others from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.

Running back Kareem Hunt, guard Drew Forbes, safety Ronnie Harrison Jr., cornerback Troy Hill, defensive tackle Malik McDowell, left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. and linebacker Mack Wilson also were cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols.

The short-handed Browns fell 24-22 to the host Green Bay Packers on Christmas Day.

Cleveland (7-8) has dropped to the 12th seed in the AFC playoff chase heading into its Week 17 Monday night game at the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1).

The Browns on Monday also placed linebacker Elijah Lee on the reserve/COVID-19 list and restored safety Nate Meadors from the practice squad/COVID list.

–Field Level Media

Right tackle Braden Smith (72) has been the Indianapolis Colts' starter for 3 years.

The Indianapolis Colts Play The Dallas Cowboys

Colts add five players to COVID-19 list

Five Indianapolis Colts landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, including starting right tackle Braden Smith.

Running back Marlon Mack, safety Jahleel Addae, cornerback T.J. Carrie and linebacker Malik Jefferson were also added to the list.

The Colts (9-6) have won three straight games and six of their last seven heading into this Sunday’s game against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders (8-7).

Smith, 25, has started each of the last eight games and nine overall this season.

Mack, 25, has rushed for 101 yards in six games.

Addae, 31, has 13 tackles in seven games (one start).

Carrie, 31, has 23 tackles and one fumble recovery in nine games (one start).

Jefferson, 25, made his season debut in Saturday’s 22-16 win at Arizona and played nine snaps on special teams.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Bryan Edwards (89) makes a touchdown reception in the end zone against Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward (21) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders’ Bryan Edwards, Marcus Mariota on COVID list

The Las Vegas Raiders placed starting wideout Bryan Edwards and backup quarterback Marcus Mariota on the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Sunday’s home game against Denver.

The Raiders (7-7) activated wide receiver Dillon Stoner and quarterback Nathan Peterman from the practice squad for the AFC West clash with the Broncos (7-7).

Edwards, 23, has 30 catches for 508 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games (11 starts) in his second NFL season.

Mariota, 28, has played a total of 12 offensive snaps this season in eight games. He has not attempted a pass and has rushed six times for 48 yards and a touchdown.

They joined offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor, cornerback Brandon Facyson and safety Roderic Teamer on the Raiders’ COVID list.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall looks on during the game against William & Mary Tribe at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Military Bowl, Fenway Bowl canceled over COVID issues

The Military Bowl and Fenway Bowl both were canceled Sunday due to COVID-19 concerns.

Boston College (6-6) was set to meet East Carolina (7-5) in the Military Bowl on Monday in Annapolis, Md.

Virginia (6-6) was to face SMU (8-4) in the inaugural Fenway Bowl at Boston’s Fenway Park on Wednesday.

They are the second and third bowl games to be canceled amid the pandemic’s current omicron variant-driven resurgence. Last Friday’s Hawaii Bowl between Memphis and Hawaii was called off Thursday when the Rainbow Warriors withdrew due to COVID-19 issues, injuries and transfers.

COVID issues at Boston College prompted the Military Bowl’s cancellation.

“This is a terrible situation obviously,” Military Bowl president and executive director Steve Beck said in a news release. “We appreciate everyone who worked so hard to try to make the game happen. Of course, the health and safety of the players and coaches is top priority. The decision not to play is understandable, but disappointing.”

COVID concerns forced Virginia to pull out of the Fenway Bowl. It was supposed to be the final game for outgoing Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

“The University of Virginia is no longer able to participate … due to the number of COVID cases impacting its roster, preventing safe participation,” Fenway Bowl organizers posted on Twitter. “As a result of this withdrawal, the game and associated activities will no longer take place.”

–Field Level Media