Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney will miss the remainder of the season due to myocarditis, a heart condition that has been linked to COVID-19 infections, head coach Sean McDermott said on Monday.
Sweeney, 25, missed the entirety of training camp with a foot injury and has been on the Physically Unable to Perform list throughout the season. On Oct. 24, he was placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list after tight end Dawson Knox tested positive for COVID-19.
According to McDermott, Sweeney was looking to return to practice this week but the condition was discovered when Sweeney underwent a recent, NFL-mandated heart exam as part of COVID-19-return protocols.
“I saw him today, he’s in good spirits,” McDermott said. “He’s had a rough year, with the injury, COVID and residual piece of the COVID, unfortunately. We know he’s a good football player and a guy that we believe in and can’t wait to get him back on the field when he can in the offseason.”
Myocarditis is a rare disease involving inflammation of the heart that can cause heart failure and sudden death. It is usually caused by a viral infection. While its exact connection to COVID-19 is still unknown, some studies, including by researchers at Ohio State University, have shown myocardial inflammation in patients who recovered from the coronavirus.
Sweeney is the first known NFL player to be dealing with myocarditis. Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez missed the entire 2020 MLB season with the heart condition.
The 25-year-old tight end was drafted in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL draft. Sweeney has eight catches for 114 yards in his career.