Tuesday, January 25, 2022

New COVID-19 protocols allow Bills to activate Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, others prior to Week 17

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The Buffalo Bills are getting some key players back in the fold as they prepare to host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and finish out the final two weeks of the regular season. On Wednesday, the team announced that it has activated receivers Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis off of the COVID-19 list along with offensive lineman Jon Feliciano and defensive end A.J. Epenesa

This comes off the heels of the NFL and NFLPA agreeing to revise their COVID-19 protocols on Tuesday to follow in line with the latest updates coming from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, individuals — regardless of vaccination status — will only have to isolate for five days following a positive test, so long as they are asymptomatic. Previously, unvaccinated players who tested positive for COVID-19 were forced to quarantine for 10 days. 

That change has a direct impact on players like Beasley and Davis, who were initially expected to miss the full 10 days due to their unvaccinated status and positive tests that forced them to miss last week’s win in New England. 

Thanks to that victory in Foxborough, the Bills now control their own destiny to win the AFC East for the second-consecutive season, so getting pass-catchers like Beasley and Davis back into the offense during this critical time of the year is quite the bonus. 

This update in the protocols could also factor into other situations around the NFL. Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, who is unvaccinated, is currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list. While he would have been forced to miss Week 17 under the prior protocols, he now has a shot to come off the reserve list so long as he remains asymptomatic. 

Just a few weeks ago, the NFL and NFLPA made other updates to their protocols that allow vaccinated players to return as soon as the day after they registered a positive test, so long as they meet certain criteria. 

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