The Dez Bryant COVID-19 saga took another turn Thursday afternoon.
Bryant tweeted that he “tested negative back to back” for COVID-19. The tweet comes less than 48 hours after Bryant was pulled off the field during warmups ahead of the Ravens’ Tuesday night game against his old team, the Cowboys. Bryant had been returning inconclusive test results, and a rapid test Bryant took at the stadium said he was positive for the coronavirus. The Ravens officially scratched him with an illness, but Bryant let the world know what was happening on his Twitter feed — and he hasn’t stopped tweeting updates since.
The biggest implication of back-to-back negative tests after Bryant’s positive rapid test on game day is the potential that the positive was a false one. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero spoke on “The Pat McAfee Show” about that possibility: “I would hesitate to say it’s a false positive yet because there’s still a process that’s playing out.”
At this point, it’s more about the process moving forward and about Bryant’s mood and less about whether his test was a false positive, because one thing the NFL can’t do is travel back in time to allow Bryant to play against the Cowboys. The determination of a false positive would allow Bryant to get back on the field for Baltimore more quickly than if the league determines that Bryant’s test was indeed a real positive.
Soon after Bryant tweeted about his positive test Tuesday, he wrote that he didn’t want to play anymore in 2020, although based on comments out of Baltimore that doesn’t exactly appear to be the case. His particular situation also created controversy because photos emerged of Bryant hugging other players during pregame warmups.
“This is a scenario that had been contemplated during the development of the protocols and one the league, clubs and NFLPA planned for,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, via Pro Football Talk. “The protocols worked.”
The NFL determined that there were no high-risk, close contacts to Bryant on Tuesday because his interactions with others had been brief. NFL protocols only consider lengthier interactions to be problematic.
At this point, Bryant may return for the Ravens in 2020, potentially even sooner than expected if his COVID-19 positive is determined to have been a false one. He’s just made very clear that he won’t be happy about any of this.
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