J.J. Arcega-Whiteside Tests Positive for COVID-19

John McMullen

PHILADELPHIA - Four Eagles players have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list in advance of Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

A source confirmed second-year WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has tested positive for the virus while running back Corey Clement, defensive end Vinny Curry and practice-squad player Deontay Burnett were also placed on the list as close contacts of someone who tested positive.

In the case of Burnett, that was JJAW.

Rookie receiver John Hightower was also expected to be placed on the list earlier in the day and missed practice because he was a closed contact to Arcega-Whiteside but the contact tracing deemed he wasn't high risk.

The news comes one week after both defensive assistant Jeremiah Washburn and safety Marcus Epps also tested positive, with the latter being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Washburn did not make the trip to North Jersey for the Eagles' 27-17 loss to the New York Giants and both defensive line coach Matt Burke and assistant defensive line coach Nathan Ollie had to miss most of practice last week as close contacts of Washburn but were able to coach in the game. 

Arcega-Whiteside was a healthy scratch against the Giants, and Hightower’s snaps were significantly down (just three overall) with the return of veteran Alshon Jeffery to the lineup.

The Browns have had their own problem with COVID-19 this week with starting right tackle Jack Conklin, placekicker Cody Parkey, and long snapper Charley Hughlett placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after coming into contact with a non-staff member who tested positive.

If each of those players continues to test negative, all three could still play against the Eagles on Sunday, albeit with no practice. That is the same situation with the Browns players.

On Monday, Cleveland fullback Andy Janovich was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive, which came three days after offensive guard Chris Hubbard was placed on the list for also testing positive.

“I will just tell you we’re following all the protocols,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We’re in constant communication with the league on these types of things, so safety is of the utmost importance and we’re doing everything to maintain that safety.”

Star defensive end Myles Garrett was also out with an illness for the Browns while the same thing happened with rookie Eagles linebacker Shaun Bradley in Philadelphia.

With COVID-19 infection rates spiking around the country, the NFL announced that all 32 teams will operate for the rest of the season under the league's intensive protocol beginning on Saturday.

The Eagles are already in that protocol right now.

Following a positive test, if the player is asymptomatic, he can return once 10 days have passed since the initial positive test; or five days have passed since the initial positive test and the player receives two consecutive negative PCR virus tests at least 24 hours apart within that five-day period.

If a player demonstrates symptoms, he can return once at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours have passed since he last experienced symptoms.

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on "The Middle" with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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