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Colts Place Denico Autry on COVID-19 List

The Indianapolis Colts will be without defensive end/tackle Denico Autry and special teams coach Bubba Ventrone on Sunday due to COVID-19.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts will be without their sack leader as well as an assistant coach for Sunday’s home game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium.

But it could have been much worse.

One day after several players didn’t practice, head coach Frank Reich said Friday that defensive end/tackle Denico Autry was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and special teams coach Bubba Ventrone will miss the Packers game because of COVID-19.

After learning of test results, Autry was held out of Thursday practice due to the illness and three other defensive linemen — tackle Grover Stewart, tackle/end Tyquan Lewis, and defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad — didn’t participate for non-injury related reasons.

Reich said that contact tracing and follow-up tests cleared Stewart, Lewis, and Muhammad for Sunday’s game.

“As soon as we got word on Denico, we actually as an organization initiated (and) did our own quick close contact thing just to see what contacts there were,” Reich said, “got them out of the building, did all the tests, then looked into the close contacts further, talked with the league, and it was determined everything was good, those guys were good to go.”

Frank Ross, in his third season as an assistant special teams coach, will take on Ventrone’s duties.

Indianapolis Colts defensive end/tackle Denico Autry has been ruled out for Sunday's home game against the Green Bay Packers after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Denico Autry leads the Colts with six sacks.

Autry, who leads the team with six sacks, including four in the last three games, is the first Colts player ruled out of a regular-season game this season.

Lewis, who started instead of Autry at defensive end in a Week 9 win at Detroit and has 3.5 sacks, is expected to get the start against the Packers.

“It could hit us hard at any time,” Reich said. “We’re working really hard at it. We work really hard at it. (GM) Chris (Ballard) is on it every day. We’re looking at the close contact, we’re looking at the connects-on information all the time to try to learn where the hot spots are, so to speak, or what do we need to do? That’s why we’ve adjusted things as we’ve gone.

“But really at the end of the day, what it comes down to is players being pros. And our guys have been doing that. I’m not going to promise that it’s going to be this clean every time something comes up, but so far we’ve been very fortunate that our players have done a good job. As soon as a case pops up, we do the close contracts, and they’ve all been deemed not high risk, so that’s been a good thing.”

The Colts (6-3) have the tiebreaker edge on the Tennessee Titans for first place in the AFC South Division entering Sunday’s game against the Packers (7-2), who are tied for the best record in the NFC.