Roger Goodell: NFL won’t reschedule games for competitive considerations

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Charean Williams
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Without an NFL quarterback, the Broncos didn’t have a chance in Sunday’s game against the Saints. The NFL is not apologizing for that.

“Let me be crystal clear as we have been with our clubs since March: All medical decisions have and always will take precedence over competitive considerations and business interests,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on a conference call Wednesday.

Broncos backup quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and the team’s other three quarterbacks were quarantined because of high-risk close contact with Driskel.

The Broncos, with little advance notice, had to start Kendall Hinton, a wide receiver on the practice squad who briefly played quarterback in college.

The Broncos activated Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles on Tuesday after they were out of the building five days with a negative test each day.

“As we discussed in October at the fall league meeting, we will not postpone or reschedule games due to COVID issues affecting multiple players, even within a position group if we feel comfortable that the rest of the team is not at risk,” Goodell said. “This was exactly the case in Denver. Isolating high-risk contacts like we did in Denver is a key component of our protocols and our health-and-safety-first approach. The data shows it’s working. In fact, more than 20 individuals have been identified over the season as high-risk close contacts that have turned positive.”

Goodell pointed to the flexibility of rosters for this season, with larger practice squads and the ability of teams to call up players as COVID-19 replacements.

“We will not reschedule games for that purpose even when you have multiple [positives] to a specific position group, which is what we agreed to with the clubs early on in the season, and we have stuck with that,” Goodell reiterated.

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, responded to a specific question about the Broncos’ quarterbacks being quarantined by saying medical data doesn’t note what position the high-risk contacts play and doesn’t care.

“We do that absolutely with no regard to the identity of that individual, meaning whether they’re player, coach or staff member, or if they’re a player, what position it is,” Sills said. “It’s a medical exercise, so really the identity or what position group is involved doesn’t even come into play. You’re looking at them as patients, not as football players or coaches at that point.”

So the game went on Sunday between the Saints and Broncos and it will go on today between the Ravens and Steelers despite the long list of players Baltimore still has unavailable because of COVID-19.

Roger Goodell: NFL won’t reschedule games for competitive considerations originally appeared on Pro Football Talk