MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins placed presumed starting left tackle Austin Jackson and backup tight end Adam Shaheen on the COVID-19 reserve list Monday, calling into doubt their availability for the team’s opener at New England.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores said “it's possible" that both could be in the lineup on Sunday. That would suggest Shaheen did not test positive; under NFL rules, unvaccinated players are out at least 10 days if they test positive and out at least five days if they are deemed to be a close contact with someone who has been exposed.
Shaheen, a backup behind starter Mike Gesicki, is unvaccinated. He was on the COVID list last month as well because of contact tracing and said he would not be vaccinated — even though that means he is tested daily, as opposed to weekly testing for players who are vaccinated.
“I would never question Adam’s commitment to the team,” Flores said.
Vaccinated players who are asymptomatic are considered out until they return two negative tests in a 24-hour span. Those with symptoms can miss up to 10 days.
Cornerback Jamal Perry was elevated to the active roster as a COVID-19 replacement.
“We think he can help us," Flores said. “At the end of the day we're going to do what we feel is best for the team and bring guys up who can help us. We felt that way about him so we brought him up."
The NFL has the COVID-19 list for players who either tested positive or have been in close contact with an infected person. Teams typically do not announce if someone has tested positive or has been flagged by contact tracing.
If Jackson cannot meet requirements to be removed from the list in time for Week 1, the left tackle job could go to backup Greg Little. Flores said the Dolphins would work different combinations of linemen in practice this week, and lauded Little as a “hard-working kid" who has “had some bright moments in the couple weeks that he's been here."
“We've got a few different options," Flores said.
The Dolphins visit the Patriots on Sunday.
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