A fourth member of the Patriots has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing Monday night’s game with the Denver Broncos to be postponed.
Byron Cowart, a second-year defensive tackle who started the first four games, is the latest player to test positive, according to a report by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
The Patriots, who were scheduled to have a bye next weekend, and the Broncos will now be playing next Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The Broncos’ schedule has been altered by the NFL to allow them to play the Patriots.
The league had moved the Patriots-Broncos game from 4:25 p.m. Sunday to Monday night after cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive for COVID-19 last week, preventing New England from practicing three days in a row.
That came just days after quarterback Cam Newton tested positive, forcing last week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs to be shifted from Sunday afternoon to Monday night. Bill Murray, a practice squad defensive lineman, is also on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Patriots finally returned to Gillette Stadium on Saturday morning for their lone practice of the week, but on Sunday morning, with a walk-through and meetings scheduled, the facility was once again shut down due to Cowart’s positive test from Saturday.
A fifth-round draft pick out of Maryland in 2019, Cowart appeared in just five games, getting on the field for only 43 defensive plays, but earned a starting job this season.
Per NFL protocol, the Patriots were scheduled to be tested again on Sunday.
Newton tested positive for the virus last weekend, forcing the NFL to change the Sunday afternoon game against the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to Monday night.
Patriots players were not happy about having to fly to Kansas City on the day of the game last Monday.
Some players moved into hotels in the Foxborough, Mass., area in order to protect their families at home after the positive test results for Newton, Gilmore and Murray.
During a video conference with the media Saturday afternoon, cornerback Jason McCourty voiced his displeasure with how the situation is being handled by both the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
“Throughout all of this, the realization is it’s not a league-wide thing. It’s kind of a team thing,” said McCourty, who is currently living in a hotel to keep his wife and children shielded from potentially getting COVID-19. “For us in this locker room, this is what we have between the players, the coaches, the administration, the staff, it’s up to us to take care of one another to make sure physically we’re all set and make sure mentally (too), because I think outside of here, the people who don’t have to walk into our building, whether it’s the league office or whether it’s the NFLPA, they don’t care.
The Broncos practiced all week to play the Patriots, but it turned out to be a bye week for them. They were scheduled to host the Miami Dolphins next Sunday, but that has been moved to Nov. 22. A game on Nov. 22 against the Los Angeles Chargers has been shifted to Nov. 1, which was going to be Denver’s bye week.