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The Eagles placed 12 players on the COVID-19 list ahead of the Cowboys game

Before the Eagles face the Cowboys on Saturday, they had a dozen players including mostly starters go on the COVID-19 reserve list.

Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert with center Jason Kelce against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, November 21, 2021 in Philadelphia.
Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert with center Jason Kelce against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, November 21, 2021 in Philadelphia.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

The Eagles added a dozen players to the COVID-19 list Monday, including mostly starters from Sunday’s win against the Washington Football Team.

Fletcher Cox, Jason Kelce, Dallas Goedert, and Rodney McLeod were among the group of players added to the list Monday. The list also included Avonte Maddox, Genard Avery, Marcus Epps, Nate Herbig, Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, Alex Singleton, and Jack Stoll. Each player will be required to quarantine for at least five days.

The NFL changed its COVID-19 policies several times in the last few weeks and now allows asymptomatic players to test out of protocols more quickly. Because the new additions went on the COVID-19 list Monday, there’s still a chance they can return in time for the team’s game against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.

The circumstances aren’t ideal, but the timing could have been worse for the Eagles. The team has already clinched a playoff berth, and there was a chance Nick Sirianni would have rested some starters for the home game against Dallas anyway. The Eagles could improve their chances of moving up in the playoff seeding with a win, but they’d need help from other teams to do so.

Before the team announced its COVID-19 list additions, Sirianni was noncommittal about his plan with the starters.

“We’re talking through all that still,” Sirianni said. “We haven’t decided anything there yet. We don’t have to decide right now. We’re preparing like we would normally prepare on a Monday game. Really for us, it’s like a Tuesday now.”

COVID-19 safety

  • The omicron and delta variants are both circulating in the Philadelphia area and throughout the country as a whole. 
  • Even if you're vaccinated, it's still a good idea to use caution, including wearing a mask, and doing as much as possible outdoors. 
  • Beginning January 3, Philly's new vaccine mandate goes into effect in spaces where people are eating and drinking. Stay safe; get vaccinated.

The players who tested positive will also be excused from testing protocols for 90 days according to league rules, meaning they won’t have to worry about missing time during the wild-card round and any round the team makes it to after.

The Eagles’ secondary and running back rooms were hit hardest. Starting running back Miles Sanders isn’t expected to play this weekend, a little over a week removed from having surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand. Scott and Howard split the majority of the team’s carries in Sanders’ absence against Washington.

If the two can’t return in time for the Cowboys game, Kenneth Gainwell will be the only healthy running back on the Eagles’ active roster, although Kerryon Johnson and Jason Huntley are both on the practice squad. Johnson was added to the taxi squad last week. He spent training camp with the Eagles but didn’t make the team.

In the secondary, the Eagles are now without their top slot cornerback and two of their top three safeties in McLeod and Epps. Epps has rotated in with McLeod and Anthony Harris this season and has played 48% of the team’s defensive snaps. The Eagles did activate cornerback and special teams player Andre Chachere from the COVID-19 list.

Kelce made his 121st consecutive regular-season start against Washington and is in jeopardy of seeing that streak end if he isn’t out of COVID-19 protocols before the weekend. It’s the longest active streak among NFL centers.

After keeping coronavirus outbreaks mostly in check for the first two-thirds of the season, the NFL and other sports leagues have struggled to contain the rapid spread brought on by the omicron variant. The Eagles’ first meeting against the Washington Football Team on Dec. 21 was delayed two days because Washington had nearly two dozen players on the COVID-19 list. Washington played that game, a 27-17 Eagles win, with Garrett Gilbert, a quarterback who was signed off the Patriots practice squad a few days before the game.

The Eagles have taken several precautions to avoid outbreaks, including separating quarterbacks into individual rooms and meeting virtually. They did the same with specialists such as kicker Jake Elliott, punter Arryn Siposs, and long snapper Rick Lovato.

Sirianni also said last week the coaches are preparing young players differently than they did earlier in the season to make sure they’re ready if an outbreak occurs.

“We’re doing some things,” he said, “to make sure if a guy gets sprung into action late, that he’s going to be ready to go even more so than what he would have in the past.”