The Detroit Lions frightened fans on Saturday by announcing that the team had placed quarterback Matthew Stafford on the NFL's Reserve/COVID-19 list. This news prompted concerned responses from fans worrying about his health, but the Lions later provided relief. The team removed Stafford from the COVID-19 list on Tuesday, citing a "false positive" as the reason.
"Today we removed Matthew Stafford from the COVID-IR list and onto the active roster," the team said in a statement. "As a result of a False-Positive test result, he was forced due to NFL/NFLPA protocols to sit out until he received two negative tests. His testing sequence for the Pre-Entry period was: negative, negative, False-Positive. The next three tests were all negative. To be clear, Matthew does NOT have COVID-19 and never has had COVID-19 and the test in question was a False-Positive. Also, all of Matthew's family have been tested and everyone is negative."
With the news that Stafford was no longer on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the fans expressed considerable relief. They have expressed optimism about the new season and Stafford returning to full health, but the False-Positive disrupted their hopes. Now the fans could once again hope that Stafford would lead the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
In addition to removing Stafford from the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Lions added two other important players back to the active roster. Cornerback Justin Coleman rejoined his teammates Tuesday after a brief stint on the Reserve/COVID-19 list while wide receiver Kenny Golladay made his return on Wednesday. The latter roster move ensured that Stafford's favorite target would be on the active roster.
Stafford was not the only quarterback to initially make his way to the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Jacksonville Jaguars star Gardner Minshew returned to the active roster on Tuesday after briefly heading into quarantine. He later explained that he did not test positive for the coronavirus, saying that the virus "took one look at me and ran the other way."
Similar to Stafford, Minshew is the man tasked with leading his team back to prominence. The former sixth-round pick out of Washington State took over the starting job midway through the 2019 season, his first in the NFL. He went on to start 12 of the 14 games in which he appeared, throwing for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Jaguars finished 6-10 and in the last place in the AFC South, but Minshew created optimism among the fanbase.