ENGLEWOOD, Colorado – Three quarterbacks of the Denver Broncos, including starter Drew Lock, may return to training and the team’s facilities on Wednesday after each test negative Tuesday for COVID-19, multiple sources confirmed to ESPN.
Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles, who are part of the training squad, were seen as close high-risk contacts with Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday. After concerns over contact tracing data and the league’s COVID-19 violations and social distancing protocols, the three were removed from the training ground on Saturday and none of them were in uniform for Sunday’s 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. It was discovered that the three men had not worn masks around Driskel at one point as they watched a movie together on a day off.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio said on Monday that if the three received negative results on Tuesday they would return to team activities on Wednesday. All three had tested negative again as they had done every day since Driskel was transferred to the reserve / COVID-19 list, sources said.
9News was the first to report that the quarters tested negative again on Tuesday.
Fangio said on Monday that additional discipline is still “on the table” for Lock, Rypien and Bortles if no discipline comes from the NFL, including the possibility of a fine for conduct detrimental to the team.
The Broncos were fined $ 250,000 and Fangio was fined $ 100,000 earlier this season for failing to follow mask protocols and now faces the prospect of a fine as well as a potential loss of a draft for the last incident.
Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis released a statement Tuesday morning that said, in part, “We share our fans’ disappointment for the difficult and unique situation our team faced at the last minute. this week-end. While it’s easy to point fingers, all of us need to take responsibility and work together to prevent this from happening again. ”
Ellis, who has battled COVID-19 himself this season, also thanked medical staff, players and other team staff. Ellis also said in the statement that he met by video call Monday, president of football operations Broncos / general manager John Elway and Fangio on “what needs to be done to step it up” in the efforts of the COVID-19 team.
Ellis also said that “we will learn from it.”
The Broncos have also started the process of signing quarterback Kyle Shurmur, the son of offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, via COVID-19 protocols. If the Broncos don’t release a quarterback by the time Shurmur is cleared to participate in team meetings and practices, he would be the fifth quarterback on the roster or on the practice squad.
Fangio said on Monday that the option to quarantine a quarterback would be discussed for the next few weeks, “but I think if we just follow the protocols we’ll be fine.”
Lock had apologized on social media ahead of Sunday’s game and said he made an “honest mistake, but I’ll own.”
Practice team receiver Kendall Hinton played 24 of 43 shots of the team in attack in the quarterback on Sunday, while the Broncos had running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman the rest of the time. Hinton hit a 1-of-9 pass for 13 yards with two interceptions after his crash course 24 hours on offense, and the Broncos gained 112 total yards.