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What is the NFL's new Reserve/COVID-19 list?

Chris Cwik
·3-min read

The NFL has introduced a new type of transaction for the 2020 season. As a result of coronavirus, the league has implemented a Reserve/COVID-19 list this year. A number of players were placed on that list Monday.

While the name of the list makes it sound like it’s reserved for players who have tested positive for coronavirus, that’s not necessarily the case.

What is the NFL’s Reserve/COVID-19 list?

The Minnesota Vikings posted an explainer of the new Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday. The team says the list is used for players who have tested positive, or players who are quarantining because they came into close contact with someone who tested positive.

This new reserve list category was created for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons. If a player falls into either of these categories, their club is required to immediately place the player on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Per agreed upon NFL-NFLPA policy, clubs are not permitted to comment on player's medical status other than referring to roster status. Clubs may not disclose whether player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson, were among those placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 on Monday.

NFL teams will not announce whether players tested positive

Due to an agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA, teams will not disclose whether a player has tested positive for coronavirus if they are placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Teams are only allowed to discuss a player’s roster status.

The decision is similar to the one implemented by MLB. Teams do not have to disclose when a player tested positive. The player can just be moved to the Injured List with no reason given. MLB teams are only allowed to reveal a positive test if a player gives consent. The player can also announce their positive test.

How many players are on the Reserve/COVID-19 list?

A total of 24 players have been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

That list could grow in the coming days, as veterans still have to report to camp.

How long will players remain on the Reserve/COVID-19 list?

The NFL has yet to reveal how long a player will remain on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. In MLB, a player needs two receive two consecutive negative tests before they can return.

An ESPN report says NFL players “may be activated from the list when they are healthy.”

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