Jared Goff misses practice as Detroit Lions deal with flu outbreak before Broncos game

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions altered their practice schedule Wednesday to try and eradicate a flu outbreak that has impacted much of the team.

Lions coach Dan Campbell said offensive players took part in a morning walk-through and meetings Wednesday, while defensive players were at the team’s Allen Park practice facility in the afternoon in an effort to limit exposure across position groups.

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The Lions’ flu outbreak started last week, when offensive tackle Penei Sewell and receiver KhaDarel Hodge missed practice time with an illness.

Both Sewell and Hodge returned after one day, but the Lions held John Penisini out of Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings after he got sick and quarterback Jared Goff said he played through the flu.

Six players, including Goff, were listed as non-participants on Wednesday’s estimated practice report because of illness, and Sewell was a limited participant. Campbell said the sickness is not COVID-19 related, though the Lions placed center Evan Brown on the reserve/COVID list Monday.

“This mess is going around right now,” Campbell said. “It’s just kind of spreading through and I think we’re on the back half of it, I really do. I think we’re on the downward slope of this, but we’re just trying, if we can buy ourselves a day to try to flush this out, we just felt like we needed to do it. It was a little bit rough. Look, everybody’s dealing with sickness. This goes around. But yeah, so I just felt like we needed to adjust.”

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Goff said in a Zoom interview Wednesday he felt “pretty good” after dealing with a stomach bug the previous three days.

“During the game you don’t feel it much at all,” Goff said. “But really it kind of hit me after the game. That adrenaline kind of wears off and whatever this little flu bug that’s going around kind of snuck up on me there.”

Goff took part in team meetings and did his weekly media session virtually Wednesday. Receiver Josh Reynolds, who did participate in Wednesday’s walk-through, pulled a mask out of his pocket when asked what extra protocol he was adhering to, to stay healthy, and said he took a couple ginger shots to try and keep his immune system up.

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Offensive linemen Jonah Jackson and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and defensive linemen Penisini, Michael Brockers and Nick Williams were the other non-participants in Wednesday’s walk-through because of illness.

“I remember a few years ago, you get the flu, you used to go home for a day and you come back the next day and you’re fine, or you don’t go home at all,” Goff said. “But now it just seems there’s a heightened awareness around every illness nowadays, so the protocol is, I would have been fine today. I could have been totally fine to be at the facility today. It was out of an abundance of caution. We’ve got a handful of these going around and just wanted to take one more day. We didn’t really practice, we had a walk-through, just one more day of be safe and be good tomorrow.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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