Just as the Patriots took their two highest-profile players off the reserve/COVID-19 list, they placed three more players on it. Sony Michel, Shaq Mason and Derek Rivers landed on the list Saturday, per Field Yates of ESPN.com.
Players do not have to test positive for the coronavirus to be placed on teams’ COVID lists; they can land on there if they are deemed close contacts of someone who has tested positive. The Pats took Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore off their list this week but still have multiple players on it. James Ferentz and defensive end Byron Cowart were already on New England’s COVID list.
Approaching 4 p.m. CT Saturday, the Pats’ Week 6 game against the Broncos remains scheduled for noon Sunday. The NFL was aware of the team’s impending Saturday adjustment to its COVID list, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. However, the Pats did not resume practice until Thursday — after their game against the Broncos was moved off its Monday date — and canceled their in-person workouts Friday because of another positive test.
Michel was already on New England’s IR, while Mason missed Week 4 and was questionable for Week 6. The Pats will be down Mason and Ferentz from their starting O-line on Sunday, should the game remain scheduled. Rivers has played 21 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps this season; the defensive end has 1.5 sacks.