| Detroit Free Press
Breaking down where Detroit Lions go after deflating loss to Colts
Free Press sports writers Dave Birkett, Shawn Windsor assess the damage after the Detroit Lions’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Filmed Nov. 2, 2020.
Matthew Stafford is back on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and this time the stay may cost him at least one game.
The Detroit Lions placed Stafford on reserve/COVID-19 on Wednesday for the second time this season.
Stafford first went on the list Aug. 1, as the Lions reported to training camp, but returned three days later after what the team said was a false positive.
The Lions did not specify Wednesday whether Stafford tested positive for the virus or is in quarantine after being in close contact with someone who is infected.
On Tuesday, the Lions placed linebacker Jarrad Davis on reserve/COVID-19, their first player to land on the list since Stafford’s false positive.
Davis can return as soon as Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, if he’s asymptomatic. Stafford must isolate for at least five days if he tested positive for the virus, per NFL rules, or five days from his last date of close contact with an infected person.
The cases of Stafford and Davis are unrelated.
“I’m not going to comment on any of the COVID stuff as far as that, but nobody would not be out at practice because of J.D.,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said before practice.
The Lions have done a better job avoiding the virus than most teams this season, but their current outbreak comes at an inopportune time.
The Lions travel to Minnesota to play the Vikings in their first of four games against sub-.500 teams. At 3-4, and with a difficult December schedule awaiting, they likely need to win all four games to stay in playoff contention.
Stafford, 32, played all 61 offensive snaps in last week’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts, when he was sacked a season-high five times and committed a pair of costly second half turnovers.
He missed eight games with a back injury last season, but has taken every offensive snap in the Lions’ seven games this year and did not miss a practice until Wednesday.
This summer, Stafford said he never considered opting out of the season because of concerns about the coronavirus. He called his initial positive test — the one the Lions later said was inaccurate — “scary.”
“I had no reason to not believe the results, or whatever, except for the fact that I was feeling fine,” Stafford said in August. “But there’s plenty of people out there that are positive and asymptomatic as well. So I think, yeah, there was no doubt there was some fear as I think everybody would have if they got a test that came back positive. And just knowing how much that I’m around and had been around my family and my kids, that’s a little bit of a scary thing. And then when everybody got tested and it all panned itself out, obviously you feel a whole lot better about it.”
Kelly Stafford lashed out at the NFL on Instagram after Stafford’s false positive, saying her family lived four days “of a nightmare” based on how they were treated after word spread of his diagnosis.
“I blame the NFL for not holding themselves accountable. These are people’s lives and livelihoods that are in those results in THEIR test sites,” she wrote. “Maybe we should be absolutely positive a person has COVID before releasing that info to the world.”
On Wednesday, she posted an Instagram story with a four-word message: “Here we go again.”
If Stafford is out Sunday, the Lions likely will turn to Chase Daniel at quarterback.
Daniel, 34, signed a three-year free agent deal with the Lions in March. He went 1-2 as a starter with the Chicago Bears the past two seasons, and made two starts for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013-14.
Stafford is the ninth Lion to go on the reserve/COVID-19 list this season, joining Davis, Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson, Amani Oruwariye, Justin Coleman, Isaac Nauta, Jalen Elliott and Arryn Siposs.