ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Kick returner Diontae Spencer is the Broncos player who tested positive for the coronavirus Friday, a person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press.
The person spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t revealed the name of the player who was infected prior to placing him on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Broncos canceled practice Friday, saying another player and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 one day after No. 3 quarterback Jeff Driskel was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after being infected with the virus.
It’s the third time this season the Broncos have canceled practice and shut down their facilities because of the novel coronavirus.
The Broncos (4-6), who host the Saints (8-2) Sunday, also shut down on Oct. 30 after guard Graham Glasgow got sick, and again on Nov. 4 when practice squad O-lineman Darren Paulo tested positive and defensive end Shelby Harris reported close contact with infected family members.
Harris later tested positive for the virus and hasn’t returned to practice. He’s expected to miss his fourth game this weekend.
The Broncos informed players early Friday that the building was closed and meetings would be held via videoconference. They plan to return to practice Saturday morning.
They also canceled Zoom media calls with coach Vic Fangio and players on Friday.
While the Broncos haven’t had outbreaks like the Baltimore Ravens are experiencing this week and the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots endured earlier this season, they’ve been affected by coronavirus concerns over the last two months.
Their game last month at New England was pushed back, first by a day and then by a week, resulting in a domino effect to their schedule and essentially costing them their bye week.
Two executives — general manager John Elway and team president Joe Ellis — contracted the virus, as have three assistants: running backs coach Curtis Modkins, offensive line coach Mike Munchak and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who’s been out all of November.
The players who have contracted COVID-19 include Von Miller and Kareem Jackson in the offseason, Andrew Beck in training camp, then Glasgow, Harris, Paulo, Spencer and Jurrell Casey, who was on IR when he was infected.
The Broncos were cleared by the NFL’s medical staff to practice on Thanksgiving after moving Driskel to the reserve/COVID-19 list. Other times, they’ve been advised to shut down for the day.
Broncos kicker and union rep Brandon McManus tweeted Friday that the NFL needs a “league-wide decision tree. Can’t have some facilities shut down and other stay open and risk exposing more players when they just practiced with a positive player.”
Teams are being tested daily, the league is dealing with coronavirus infections on a case-by-case basis and doing contact tracing and interviews whenever a player or staffer tests positive.
Spencer missed three games this season with a shoulder injury and was replaced by cornerback Bryce Callahan on punts and rookie receiver Tyree Cleveland on kickoffs. Callahan, however, has been dealing with a foot injury that kept him out of practice Wednesday and limited him on Thursday.
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