Photo AP / Gregory Bull
Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy
announcement Linebacker Keanu Neal will miss Monday night’s Week 3 game against the Philadelphia Eagles after testing positive for the coronavirus.
McCarthy provided the update on Saturday after Neal was placed on the reserve / COVID-19 list on Wednesday when he was considered a high-risk close contact.
Neal signed with Dallas as a free agent in March on a one-year, $ 4 million contract. He spent his first five seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons.
The 26-year-old University of Florida product began the Cowboys’ Week 1 loss to defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he played over 70 percent of defensive shots in each of the first two games, according to Pro Football Reference. , despite not being in the starting lineup for last week’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
He totaled nine tackles in his first two appearances.
Leighton Vander Esch is expected to make up most of the extra playing time at linebacker level alongside Jaylon Smith and Micah Parsons. The Cowboys have used an extra defensive back in a lot of situations, which could lead to more snaps for Jayron Kearse.
Neal’s next chance to play comes on October 3 when Dallas plays host to the Carolina Panthers.
Meanwhile, defensive end Bradlee Anae will be out after being placed on the reserve / COVID-19 list.
He will join Neal, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (foot) and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins (knee) among the major contributors to the team who are not in the roster.
Depth exhaustion is a concern for a unit that ranks 27th in total defense (419.5 yards against per game).