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Report: Broncos QBs Cleared to Play in Week 13 at Chiefs

Lock, Rypien, and Bortles returned negative COVID-19 tests on Tuesday.

The to-this-point-isolated Denver Broncos quarterbacks — starter Drew Lock, backup Brett Rypien, and practice-squadder Blake Bortles — are eligible to return after being forced to sit out Sunday's loss to New Orleans due to the NFL's COVID-19 concerns.

9News' Mike Klis reports each QBs tested negative for the virus on Tuesday and will participate in Wednesday's full-scale practice ahead of Denver's Week 13 road tilt against the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs.

The news comes three days after the league stunningly stripped the Broncos of a competitive edge upon determining the players involved, including third-stringer Jeff Driskel, did not continually wear their masks or properly distance in accordance with COVID protocols. Driskel had tested positive and NFL officials subsequently ruled that Lock, Rypien, and Bortles were "high-risk close contacts," needing a five-day quarantine, and thus disallowed from playing.

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Blindsided on 24 hours' notice, the 4-7 Broncos were forced to promote wide receiver Kendall Hinton from the practice squad to start at QB against the 9-2 Saints. In an admirable effort, Hinton — a converted college passer — completed 1-of-9 attempts for 13 yards and two interceptions amid the 31-3 defeat.

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Several players spoke publicly about the unwinnable situation, criticizing the NFL's alleged double standard in contrast to the Baltimore Ravens, whose Week 12 game against the Steelers was rescheduled three times despite an organizational-wide virus outbreak and apparent rules violation.

"Wearing that mask and being in the room on a day-to-day basis definitely becomes kind of irritating, but honestly, we have to do what we have to do. But at the same time, I just feel like going into the game, we weren't given a chance," safety Kareem Jackson said after the game. "Like I said, earlier in the year, we had a game get pushed back, a bye-week taken, and to have to continue to play this game and not being given the chance to at least figure things out as far as our quarterback situation."

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio did not dismiss the possibility of quarantining Bortles, isolated on the practice squad, should another emergency arise.

But barring something unforeseen over the next 24 hours, Lock will reassume his first-string duties and start Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

Follow Zack on Twitter @KelbermanNFL and @MileHighHuddle