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COVID-19 updates: Broncos RB coach tests positive; OBJ cleared to play

Members of the Denver Broncos take part in drills during an NFL football practice in empty Empower Field at Mile High, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos running backs coach Chris Modkins has tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t accompany the team on its trip to New England.

The Broncos said they learned of Modkins’ diagnosis early Saturday.

“Curtis is currently at home in self-isolation and experiencing no symptoms,” the team said. “We have evaluated close contacts, administered necessary point of care testing (no positive COVID-19 results) and implemented additional health and safety measures at UCHealth Training Center per NFL-NFLPA protocols.”

The Broncos said they’re in “regular communication” with the league office, the league’s chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills and team medical staff.

“We will take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our team, opponents and community,” the team added.

The Broncos were originally scheduled to play at New England last weekend but that game got delayed twice, first by a day, then by seven, after several coronavirus cases on the Patriots, including those of Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore.

On Friday, the Broncos held running back Melvin Gordon out of practice because of what coach Vic Fangio said was an illness unrelated to the coronavirus.

The Patriots canceled practice Friday and later placed center James Ferentz on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He’s the fifth case on the Patriots, who returned to practice Saturday.

On Saturday, the Broncos announced they had elevated defensive lineman Sylvester Williams to the active roster along with running back Jeremy Cox and linebacker Josh Watson.

They also released quarterback Blake Bortles, whom they signed after Drew Lock sprained the rotator cuff in his right shoulder in Week 2.

Lock is expected to start Sunday.

Around the league

The New England Patriots went back to work Saturday, one day after a fifth player tested positive for COVID-19 and one day before their twice-postponed game against Denver.

A Patriots spokesman said the team would proceed with its walkthrough, but all meetings would be virtual. There was no word on any Saturday testing.

The Patriots had canceled practice Friday and later placed center James Ferentz on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Cleveland Browns star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was ill and sent home Thursday and not allowed to practice Friday, had his second negative test in 24 hours. That cleared him to play Sunday at Pittsburgh.

The Baltimore Ravens have placed defensive tackle Brandon Williams on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

The team isn’t saying whether Williams tested positive for COVID-19 or came in close contact with someone who is infected with the virus.

The Ravens face Philadelphia on Sunday.

The Jacksonville Jaguars said Saturday a practice-squad player tested positive. Jacksonville’s initial result was confirmed by a second test Friday evening. The player was quarantined, and the team is reviewing contact tracing data to determine what further precautions need to be taken.

The Jaguars (1-4) remain set to host Detroit (1-3) on Sunday.

The Indianapolis Colts had four positive tests that came up negative upon retesting.

Indianapolis initially closed its practice facility, then the four retests came back negative and the building reopened.

The Atlanta Falcons left as scheduled for Sunday’s game at Minnesota, but said defensive end John Cominsky was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and defensive line coaches Tosh Lupoi and Jess Simpson did not make the trip.

Earlier this week the team placed rookie defensive tackle Marlon Davidson on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Falcons had to shut their facility Thursday but reopened Friday after one nonplayer tested positive.


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