Panthers Enter NFL’s Intensive Protocol After Falcons Player Hits COVID-19 List

A Carolina Panthers helmet is seen before an NFL football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers announced Wednesday that they entered the NFL‘s “intensive protocol” for the coronavirus on the heels of Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Falcons placed rookie defensive tackle Marlon Davidson on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week after he played in Sunday’s game against Carolina.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert explained what being in intensive protocol will mean for the Panthers:

Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN

As I understand it, this means the Panthers will apply the NFL’s post-exposure rules. Includes:
+ Daily POC tests
+ Virtual meetings only
+ PPE/Face masks worn by everyone at practice
+ 10 or less in weight room
+ No team gatherings away from facility https://t.co/CEppc5fbxu

As part of their announcement, the Panthers noted that their entry into intensive protocol is precautionary since they haven’t placed any players on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Carolina defeated Atlanta 23-16 on the road in Week 5, marking the Panthers’ third win in a row and improving their record to 3-2. As a result, they are in a three-way tie with the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for first place in the NFC South.

The Falcons are last in the division at 0-5, and the loss to Carolina led to owner Arthur Blank firing both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

When Atlanta placed Davidson on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, it marked the second time it made such a move this season, as it previously placed rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell on the list. Davidson, a second-round rookie out of Auburn, played in 18 snaps Sunday.

The coronavirus has had a profound impact on the NFL all season long, but especially in recent weeks. The Tennessee Titans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game and the New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos game were both postponed to future weeks, while other games such as the Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs and the Titans vs. Buffalo Bills were moved back a day or two.

With some teams experiencing multiple COVID-19 cases, the NFL has been forced to get creative and do some schedule shuffling in order to accommodate.

The Falcons are scheduled for a road game against the 1-4 Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, while the Panthers are set to host the 4-1 Chicago Bears on Sunday.

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