INDIANAPOLIS — Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly and receiver Zach Pascal have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced Monday.
The three players were placed on the COVID-19 list after coming in close contact with a Colts staff member who tested positive, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. The players can return in five days if they continue to have negative tests and remain asymptomatic. The fact that the three players were placed on the list as close contacts is an indication they are not vaccinated for the coronavirus as, per NFL protocols, vaccinated players would only be placed on the list for a positive test result.
When asked during training camp whether he was vaccinated, Wentz said, “That’s a personal decision.”
The Colts have been hit hard with players placed on the COVID-19 list since the start of training camp. They removed guard Quenton Nelson off the list Monday after he was in close contact with somebody who tested positive. Left tackle Eric Fisher, who is recovering from a torn Achilles, was placed on the COVID-19 list on Aug. 26. Cornerback T.J. Carrie, offensive lineman Julien Davenport, defensive lineman Al-Quadin Muhammad and cornerback Xavier Rhodes have also spent time on the list. Head coach Frank Reich and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus tested positive for COVID-19 at different points in training camp.
Reich was asked how concerned he is about close-contact COVID-19 cases following the team’s preseason finale at Detroit last week.
“I don’t like to play that card, but it is what it is,” the coach said. “So, yes, it does show that. It shows that a player can be a close contact and not have it, but that can happen in a lot of different ways. We’ll continue to educate the players. I still respect, greatly respect, the choice that each individual player has. We’ll continue to educate and give whatever counsel we can. We recommend that every player should be vaccinated, but we respect the individual choice.”
This was supposed to be a big week of practice for Wentz after his recovery from left foot surgery on Aug. 2. Reich said Sunday that Wentz had advanced to the point of being a full participant in the team portion of practice as he works his way back to hopefully playing in the Colts’ Week 1 game against Seattle. Second-year quarterback Jacob Eason will handle the first-team snaps with Brett Hundley as the backup until Wentz returns.
The Colts have had one of the lowest percentages of vaccinated players in the NFL. It’s something that irked owner Jim Irsay before the start of training camp.
“You get vaccinated. It’s the best choice,” Irsay said last month. “All choices have risks, there’s no question, and you respect the personal choice that people have out there for their health, but it just makes the most sense. I don’t think — you could take this topic to Harvard and Yale debate club, and whoever got the side of arguing that vaccination is the most intelligent and logical thing to do at this point, I don’t think you could argue against that. There is always risk in everything in life, but getting vaccinated is the right thing to do.”