Patriots place 3 more on COVID-IR but Broncos game still on

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A Patriots spokesman said Saturday the team was proceeding with its usual day-before walkthrough, but all meetings would be virtual

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(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

(AP) – The New England Patriots went back to work Saturday in preparation for their twice-postponed game against Denver even as they added three more players to the COVID-19 injury list.

Offensive lineman Shaquille Mason and defensive lineman Derek Rivers were added to the list on Saturday, as was running back Sony Michel, who was already on injured reserve with a leg injury. The moves come a day after center James Ferentz was added to the COVID-19 list, prompting the team to cancel practice Friday and close its facility.

A Patriots spokesman said Saturday the team was proceeding with its usual day-before walkthrough, but all meetings would be virtual. The game against the Broncos was originally scheduled for Oct. 11, then pushed back one day and then rescheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. after a fourth Patriot tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Broncos had COVID-19 news of their own Saturday: Running backs coach Curtis Modkins has tested positive and won’t make the trip to New England. He is in isolation and has no symptoms.

Elsewhere, the Jacksonville Jaguars said that a practice-squad player tested positive. The team placed 12 players on the practice squad COVID-19 list, 11 of them because they have been in close proximity with the infected teammate.

It benefited Jacksonville that it separates practice-squad players from those on the 53-man roster, creating an extra level of protection to help prevent an outbreak.

The Jaguars also placed defensive end Josh Mauro on the regular COVID-19 list. He had been suspended the first five weeks of the regular season but rejoined the team Monday and spent the week with the practice squad.

Those on the list will need three negative tests to be removed. The Jaguars (1-4) are confident they will host Detroit (1-3) on Sunday as scheduled, even though they held football activities remotely Saturday as part of NFL safety protocols.

Also dealing with COVID issues in recent days: Atlanta, Indianapolis, Carolina and Baltimore.

The Colts had four positive tests that came up negative upon retesting. The Falcons returned to their facility one day after abandoning it because of a second positive.

New England already had the Week 5 matchup against Denver postponed following four earlier positive coronavirus tests by players, including quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and Newton returned to practice this week for the first time since testing positive. Newton missed New England’s loss at Kansas City on Oct. 5 after his Oct. 2 positive test. He was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Gilmore, who tested positive Oct. 7, was activated from the list Thursday. Practice-squad player Bill Murray also returned from the COVID-19 list Thursday.

Defensive tackle Byron Cowart, who tested positive Oct. 11, was joined on the list by Ferentz.

The Broncos haven’t played since Oct. 1. If they play Sunday, they’ll have had 16 days between games, one day longer than Tennessee’s layoff before the Titans beat Buffalo on Tuesday night following the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak, which affected two dozen members of the organization.

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