Cowboys LB Micah Parsons enters COVID protocol ahead of Week 18

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The Dallas Cowboys are looking to finish the season strong by playing their starters against the Philadelphia Eagles this Saturday after a lackluster performance against the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately for the likely four-seed in the NFC playoffs, their best defensive player might be absent. However, his quest to break the rookie sack record has been put in jeopardy as he landed on the Reserve/COVID list on Wednesday.

Parsons is a shoe-in for the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year award and is one of the top contenders for defensive player of the year. Drafted with the No. 12 overall pick in April’s draft, Parsons has transformed the Cowboys defense as coordinator Dan Quinn has used him in a myriad of ways. Parsons has been an edge rusher as well as a versatile off-ball linebacker capable of playing the run, pass and coming from any of the gaps on a blitz.

He’s tallied 13 sacks for the year in limited pass-rush opportunities, and has been the best rusher on a per-snap basis in the league.

He also leads the team in quarterback hits, with 30, and 20 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. In addition, Parsons is second on the team in total tackles, with 84.

The club is already thin at linebacker, with Keanu Neal and Francis Bernard currently on the COVID list, leaving only Leighton Vander Esch and Luke Gifford on the active roster. Dallas did sign Devante Bond to the practice squad last week to help with the depth.

This doesn’t absolutely mean Parsons can’t play on Saturday, though it is more than likely. If he is asymptomatic and can produce two negative tests within 24 hours of each other he can take the field.

Dallas (11-5), has already secured the NFC East title and is currently fighting to improve their No. 4 seed heading into the playoffs. The Eagles (9-7) have clinched a wild-card slot, either No. 6 or No. 7 and don’t have much incentive to try and win the game outside of preparing for the playoffs.

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