RENTON -- Wide receiver Tyler Lockett and running back Alex Collins were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday after testing positive on Thursday.
Both Lockett and Collins are fully vaccinated, which means their placement on the reserve list comes from positive tests and not as a result of close contacts. Only unvaccinated players can land on the reserve list due to close contacts.
"We're trying to do everything the best that we can and even today, adapted to a couple of positive tests, and everybody's just going to re-test and just doing everything that we can and just trying to be the best we can be," tight end Gerald Everett said.
"I know I [re-tested], for one, but just everybody who, you know, felt kind of weird or who thought they may be positive or who thought they should double check just went back and tested."
Lockett and Collins are just the second and third players to end up on the reserve list for the Seahawks due to positive COVID-19 tests. Everett missed the first games played against the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams earlier this season. Everett, who is also vaccinated, had multiple negative tests leading up to the game against the Rams. However, his second PCR test didn't come in until the day of the game and he was not allowed to play.
Everett implied that the Seahawks have more positive cases than just the two known results from Lockett and Collins as well.
“I worry about those guys, Tyler and the receivers, everybody else who’s on the staff that came back with the results,” Everett said. “It’s definitely something tough to deal with on the body and on the mental. We’re going to stay closely connected to those guys.”
Seattle was missing their top four receivers for practice on Thursday. Lockett, DK Metcalf, Freddie Swain and Dee Eskridge were all not present for the open portion of practice. Metcalf (foot/back), Swain (ankle) and Eskridge (foot) had all been on the injured list on Wednesday due to injuries.
The positive tests Seattle come amid a significant uptick in positive cases across the NFL. Seattle's opponent this week, the Rams, have 25 players currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller and Darrell Henderson. Nine more players, including Miller, were placed on the list on Thursday.
"I pray that every day we can get better and find ways to keep each other safe," said quarterback Russell Wilson, who said he had received his booster shot in addition to his full vaccination earlier this year. "I think it’s super important that we all wear our masks as much as possible, stay away from people as much as possible, but at the same time, know that everybody has family members and loved ones. Some are elderly, some are young, some have asthma, may have had cancer, different circumstances, so people’s lives are on the line. We have to protect everybody as much as possible."
The NFL made sweeping changes to its COVID-19 protocols on Thursday in coordination with the NFL Players' Association. The changes include the rules by which a vaccinated player can return to action. Previously, the protocol said a player must have two negative PCR tests on consecutive days in order to return to action. Under the new rules, a player has much more flexibility to get cleared to play. The threshold is still two negative tests. However, the tests can be either the PCR tests or the rapid, MESA, tests. Additionally, the tests can be taken concurrently instead of needing to be separated by 24 hours. These changes allow for a player to potentially be cleared to return faster than under the previous protocols.
The negative tests would still need to be registered prior to the 1 p.m. PT deadline on Saturday for roster moves for a player to play in a game on Sunday.
"Throughout the pandemic we have continuously evolved our protocols to meet our goal of advancing the safety of the players, coaches and staff," the NFL said in a statement on Thursday. "The changes we are making today aim to address the increase in cases and the advent of the Omicron variant. Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel. We will continue to strongly encourage booster shots as the most effective protection. Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19. All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach, with safety our number-one goal for the entire NFL community."
Lockett and Collins are subject to the new protocols and could return, if asymptomatic, with some combination of two negative tests before Saturday at 1 p.m.
Lockett missed practice because of his placement on the COVID-19 list. But three other wide receivers also missed practice on Thursday due to injuries. The four absences left the Seahawks with just one receiver from their active roster, Penny Hart, taking part in practice. Lockett, DK Metcalf, Freddie Swain and Dee Eskridge all did not participate in practice. Metcalf (foot/back), Swain (ankle) and Eskridge (foot) had all been on the injured list on Wednesday due to injuries as well. Swain was also noted as having his practice absence being for non-injury related/personal reasons for Thursday.
If Lockett isn't able to clear COVID-19 protocol, and any number of the injured receivers are unable to play, the Seahawks will need to call-up receiving options from their practice squad. Cody Thompson, Aaron Fuller, Cade Johnson and Matt Cole are the four receivers on the practice unit. Thompson, Fuller and Johnson have been with the team all year while Cole was addition to the squad this week.
In addition to the receivers, guard Gabe Jackson (knee), safety Quandre Diggs (knee) and defensive end Carlos Dunlap (quadriceps) also missed a second straight day of work. Defensive tackle Bryan Mone (knee) was also out on Thursday after being limited in Wednesday's practice.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 05: Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lumen Field on December 05, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)