The Cardinals had very few days since rookies reported to training camp on July 22 where they didn’t have anyone on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
There was a stretch from Aug. 3-10 and then another beginning last Friday (Sept. 3) when cornerback Robert Alford was activated.
However, the good feelings ended a week after that when wide receiver Antoine Wesley tested positive for the coronavirus and was placed on the COVID list Friday (Sept. 10). That effectively eliminates the possibility of him being active for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
Strangely, the team’s injury report distributed to the media at 12:57 p.m. Arizona time Friday listed Wesley as out of Sunday’s game with an illness. The deadline for reporting transactions to the league is 1 p.m. Arizona time and Wesley did not participate Friday morning in a practice that began at 8:50 a.m.
Wesley becomes the 18th instance involving 16 players this summer of a Cardinals player being placed on the COVID list. Both numbers are the most in the league.
Teams throughout the league were concerned about the chances of numerous positive tests with many players reporting back to their teams Monday after being off last weekend.
However, there was only one player placed on reserve/COVID-19 with a positive test Tuesday and none Wednesday or Thursday. Wesley was the only player placed on the list Friday.
Asked Wednesday if it is often on his mind when he arrives at the team facility each day whether there will be news about a player being placed on reserve, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, “Definitely. We got tested yesterday and the results came in today and you just pray you don't get that email. It adds an element. You try not to think about it, but it's definitely there.”
As asked if he had concern about the weekend off for players, he said, “I did. Anytime you have Labor Day weekend completely off for four days, there can be some issues. So hopefully, we can be unscathed coming out of it.”
With Wesley on reserve, the Cardinals can bring up a player to the active roster from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement.
The Cardinals also have a degree of concern that unvaccinated players on the roster, especially if there are any wide receivers, could be identified as high-risk contacts. If that is the case, those players would have to miss five days and be unable to play Sunday. In the league, there have been no high-risk contacts for four days.