Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper missed a key pair of games after testing positive for COVID. He returned Thursday night in Dallas’ victory over the Saints.
After the game, Cooper made it clear that he believes he could have played with COVID.
“It was difficult,” Cooper told reporters. ” [Michael] Jordan played with the flu. This is how I looked at him. It was a restriction not being able to play with what I had. It was difficult, knowing that I could physically go out and play, but the restrictions didn’t allow me to do that.
The restrictions did not allow him to do so because current protocols, jointly developed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, require an unvaccinated player who tests positive to leave the facility for at least 10 days. But Cooper brings up a point we recently raised, both on PFT and direct and #PFTPM. When will the NFL decide not to prevent asymptomatic players who test positive from training and playing?
The virus is spread much more easily indoors. The NFL believed from the onset of the pandemic that it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, for one player to transfer enough virus to another player in an outdoor setting, or in a dome with advanced ventilation driven by the possibility of a terrorist aerosol attack.
When will the NFL allow players who test positive but have no symptoms to play? When will the NFL allow players who test positive and show symptoms to play?
Every year, players play with a cold. They play with the flu. They do it because the rules don’t prohibit it. When, then, will the NFL’s COVID protocols evolve to a similar point?
As a source familiar with the league’s overall management of the pandemic recently explained to PFT, the key is not vaccines but therapeutics. When a pill can be taken to treat and / or cure the virus once it’s inside the human body, the infection stakes drop. This is when the NFL will become less cautious about allowing infected personnel into the building, training ground or stadium.