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NFL head coach to miss game due to COVID-19 protocols for first time all season

Liz Roscher
·2-min read

Players, assistant coaches and coordinators have all missed games due to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, and for the first time in the 2020 season, a head coach will as well.

Interim head coach Darrell Bevell will miss the game on Saturday because he is a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, the Detroit Lions announced Thursday. According to the protocols, he can’t be at the game.

The Lions’ wide receivers coach Robert Prince will reportedly fill in for Bevell on Saturday when they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the offensive plays will be called by quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 13: Interim head coach Darrell Bevell of the Detroit Lions stands on the sideline during the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 13, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell will reportedly miss Saturday's game due to COVID-19 protocols. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Protocols sideline four other coaches

That is not the end of COVID-related coaching changes for Detroit. The Lions announced that four more coaches will have to miss Saturday’s game due to the protocols, and they’re all guys who work on defense: defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, defensive line coach Bo Davis, defensive backs coach Steve Gregory and linebackers coach Ty McKenzie.

The Lions’ facility was closed Tuesday after two tests came back positive. Rapoport reported that nearly all of their defensive staff members were considered to be close contacts. Contact tracing also showed that Bevell was a close contact.

This is the first time all season that a head coach will miss a game due to the COVID-19 protocols. And while that’s a significant loss for the Lions, they’re dealing with four other coaches also being sidelined who are all from the same area. It’s a less-than-ideal situation for sure, but all they can do is the same thing every team has been doing all season: shuffle people around and keep moving forward.

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