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Lions place Matthew Stafford on Covid-19 IR, remove him 3 days later

The Lions placed QB Matthew Stafford on Covid IR, and have since removed him.

Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions watches the pregame activities prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

UPDATE Aug 4: The Lions announced Matthew Stafford has been activated from the Covid-19 IR list. The team said he had a false positive that put him into the testing protocol. They said his testing sequence for the pre-entry period was negative, negative, false-positive and then the next three tests were all negative.

The Detroit Lions have placed quarterback Matthew Stafford on their Covid-19 injured reserve list. The team made it official on the NFL transaction wire Saturday afternoon, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.

Stafford is not the first player to go on the Covid IR, but he is arguably the most high profile. Going on the list does not mean he has tested positive. It means he either tested positive or was in close contact with someone who is known to have Covid-19. It raises a couple concerns in particular for Stafford. He has a newborn at home and his wife previously dealt with a brain tumor.

The Lions have a fairly light quarterback room, with Chase Daniel and David Blough behind Stafford on the depth chart. The team is likely to sign another quarterback while Stafford is out.

The Covid IR allows for a faster return time than traditional IR. Peter King reported on two timelines based on a positive test:

  • “If he has symptoms of COVID-19, at least 10 days must pass since the first symptoms occurred and at least 72 hours have passed since symptoms last occurred. He must test negative and have his return approved by a team doctor in consultation with league medical officials.”
  • “If he is asymptomatic, 10 days must have passed since his positive test—or five days have passed since the positive test, plus two tests that show negative results, for him to resume playing.”