Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed on the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve list on Saturday, becoming the first starting signal-caller in that group.
The 33-year-old quarterback has thrown for 41,025 yards and 256 touchdowns in 11 seasons for the Lions, who now have eight players on the COVID-19 reserve list.
Teams cannot announce positive test results for players. Being on the list means a player has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been in close contact with someone who has the virus.
The issue hits close to home for Stafford, who has a newborn baby daughter and whose wife Kelly had brain tumor surgery in April 2019.
Stafford was not on the COVID-19 opt out list, which would have meant he was skipping the season due to health concerns.
That means Stafford can be activated once he receives medical clearance after undergoing health and safety protocols.
A back injury last season brought an end to Stafford’s run of 136 consecutive starts.
Without him in the lineup, the Lions lost their final eight games of the 2019 campaign and missed the playoffs for the third year in a row. The Lions have not won a playoff game since 1991.
The New England Patriots lost a seventh player to the COVID-19 opt out list Saturday in wide receiver Marqise Lee.
Others on the Patriots who will skip the 2020 season include defensive back Patrick Chung, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, running backs Dan Vitale and Brandon Bolden plus offensive linemen Marcus Cannon and Najee Toran.
The New York Jets lost linebacker C.J. Mosley to the opt out list, another blow to the defensive side after the team traded safety Jamal Adams to Seattle last weekend.