Lions give positive update on Matthew Stafford, remove him from COVID list

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The Detroit Lions activated quarterback Matthew Stafford from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday.

The Detroit Lions activated Matthew Stafford from the reserve/COVID-19 list after a five-day stay, citing a false positive test as the reason he was added in the first place. The veteran quarterback reportedly had three negative tests after his positive test, per Albert Breer.

After missing the majority of last season following a strong start, Stafford hopes to rebound in 2020 and make the Lions relevant in the NFC North again. The team finished 3-12-1 in 2019 after a 2-0-1 start, with Stafford’s injury largely to blame.

Matthew Stafford is no longer on the reserve/COVID-19 list

While training camp has already gotten underway, Stafford’s five-day absence should not be a big deal. Entering his 12th season in Detroit, the veteran quarterback is already extremely familiar with the offense, and missing a few practices is not likely to significantly hinder him.

Despite Stafford’s activation, the Lions have not yet announced whether or not teammates T.J. Hockenson and Kenny Golladay have been activated from the list. Both pass catchers were added to the list just a few days before Stafford, meaning that they either tested positive for COVID-19 or were in close contact with someone who had.

Regardless, having Stafford back in the fold will be a good thing for a Detroit team which desperately needs his veteran leadership. The Lions cannot afford another season with David Blough or Jeff Driskel at quarterback, and Stafford should at least help Detroit stay respectable in a crowded division.

The team’s statement makes it clear that Stafford and all of his family members never had coronavirus to begin with, and the false positive test could be an anomaly as far as the NFL’s protocols go. However, if unreliable testing becomes a trend, with false positives and negatives frequently reported, the coronavirus pandemic could quickly derail the NFL season.

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