AFC Notes: Dez Bryant, Bengals, Ravens

Dez Bryant

The NFL addressed the Dez Bryant situation from last night by saying they “made the safest possible decision.”

“The process is consistent with how we have addressed a player positive, including the contact-tracing process,” Dawn Aponte, the NFL’s chief football administrative officer, said in a Wednesday conference call, via Pro Football Talk. “I would say one of the complicating factors, obviously, was the timing for the club. It was past the 90-minute mark, pregame, which is the final time that the club is able to set their active roster for the game. That was different than what we had experienced in the past. But in terms of the scenario, certainly not something that we hadn’t previously contemplated and discussed, and as always health and safety dictates. At the end of the day, that is how the decision is arrived, and that was how it was determined that Dez would be removed, and there were no other close contacts identified.

I made the final determination that there were no high-risk close contacts to the case, so there was no need to remove anyone else,” Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said. “I would say it was a very straight-forward review simply because there were very few contacts identified by the Kinexon data. I think that’s a reflection of the fact that this club has been under our intensive protocol and certainly has done a tremendous job with compliance around their facility leading up to the game yesterday. So there were simply very few contacts to be reviewed, and with the cooperation of the player involved, we did not identify any other worrisome contacts.

“But the same exact process was followed in this case as we do in every case. We made that determination using the same group of people and the same process, and the fact that we were able to do it fairly quickly is not reflective a lack of thoroughness in the process. It’s just simply the amount of data to be sorted through that allowed us to do that.”

  • Regarding Ravens’ veteran WR Dez Bryant‘s positive COVID-19 test prior to Tuesday’s game, NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reports that every other player on Baltimore tested negative and had no high-risk close contact designations. 
  • Pelissero points out that Bryant was pulled off the field for a positive COVID-19 POC test, but his daily PCR test taken on Tuesday morning came back inconclusive, while his PCR test rerun on Tuesday was also ruled inconclusive. 
  • Bryant wrote on Twitter that he is increasingly confused by his positive COVID-19 test given he’s performed under the “same routine” for weeks. 


  • Per Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cowboys QB Andy Dalton will return to Cincinnati for the first time since being released by the team when Dallas plays the Bengals Sunday: “It will be different being on the other side of the field, the other locker room and all that kind of stuff. It’ll kind of feel a little weird being on the other side of it, but it’s because I spent so much time there. I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to getting back and playing in Cincinnati.”
  • Bengals HC Zac Taylor ruled RB Joe Mixon out against Dallas this week. (Ben Baby)
  • Despite being carted from Sunday’s game, Bengals OT Jonah Williams will not need surgery on his right knee, per Taylor. (Baby)
  • In fact, Taylor says there’s a chance Williams could return for Week 17. (Dragon)
  • Bengals sixth-round OL Hakeem Adeniji will start at left tackles this week. (Jay Morrison)
  • Bengals second-round WR Tee Higgins was limited with a hamstring injury. (Dragon)
  • The Bengals protected S Trayvon Henderson, DT Kahlil McKenzie, WR Stanley Morgan and TE Mitchell Wilcox on the practice squad this week. (Morrison)


COVID-19 hits everyone differently and the NFL is no different. Some players have looked like they’re coming off a nasty illness when they returned from the COVID-19 list, like Patriots QB Cam Newton earlier this season. But when Ravens QB Lamar Jackson returned to play Tuesday night against the Cowboys, he turned in one of his best games of the season. He looked refreshed and rejuvenated and he said afterward that’s how he felt. 

“It felt like I didn’t play for a whole season,” Jackson said via Ryan Mink of the team’s official website. “I was like, ‘It feels good to be back with my guys.’ Even in practice, walking into the locker room and stuff, I was like, ‘Man, I couldn’t wait to see you, your faces.’ It was like two weeks that I didn’t see those guys. I couldn’t wait to get out there and perform for those guys, because I know how much it would mean for us to win games.”

  • Jackson revealed he still can’t taste or smell after testing positive for the virus. (Gabrielle DiPaula)
  • Bryant’s positive test will keep him out of next week’s game against the Browns as well. (Jeff Zrebiec)

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