ENGLEWOOD -- Friday, a Broncos player tested positive for COVID-19, the first since training camp, prompting coach Vic Fangio to cancel practice as a precautionary measure.
Starting Denver right guard Graham Glasgow received a positive test, a source confirmed, just days after offensive line coach Mike Munchak was placed in isolation after coming into contact with someone with COVID or testing positive himself. Glasgow came into close contact with two other players, including at least one other offensive lineman, who have been placed in isolation.
“Hey everybody. I appreciate all the well wishes. Feeling pretty good right now. I’m hoping to stay healthy through this and get back out on the field as soon as I can. Until then, stay safe and go Broncos!” Glasgow tweeted Friday afternoon.
Hey everybody. I appreciate all the well wishes. Feeling pretty good right now. I’m hoping to stay healthy through this and get back out on the field as soon as I can. Until then, stay safe and go Broncos!— Graham Glasgow (@gglasgow61) October 30, 2020
Austin Schlottmann projects to start in Glasgow's absence, but that remains a fluid situation based on the availability of other linemen.
Fangio elected to move to virtual zoom meetings Friday, with the plan to resume practice on Saturday.
For now, Sunday's game at 2:05 p.m. between the Chargers and Broncos remains on as scheduled. The Chargers also had an offensive lineman test positive earlier this week.
The Broncos issued a statement Friday morning, confirming the positive test. They said, in part, that they are in "in consultation with the NFL and taking guidance from medical experts. ... The health and safety of the players, coaches and staff will continue to be of the highest priority."
NFL Network first reported that the player who tested positive was Glasgow.
The Las Vegas Raiders dealt with a similar issue last week where virtually their entire offensive line was removed from practice, but they returned and played last Sunday. With a surge in COVID-19 cases, including in Colorado, the Broncos have been impacted by the virus the past few weeks.
Running backs coach Curtis Modkins missed the previous two games after testing positive before the Patriots game, and returned to work this week. Munchak's absence was revealed Wednesday, and now a player on Friday with two others placed in isolation.
The Broncos experienced a brush with the virus in the offseason as Von Miller an Kareem Jackson both contracted the virus and recovered. Tight end Andrew Beck was placed on the NFL's COVID-19 reserve list following a positive test on July 30, and was cleared a few weeks later.
Following Modkins' positive test, the Broncos, per procedure, were placed in intensive protocols. More social distancing was created and additional face covering mandates were implemented as Jackson explained Thursday.
"Right now, the protocols are a little over the top. We actually have to wear that shield anytime that we’re in the training room and on the practice field we’re wearing these extra shields over our facemask. So, everybody is required to wear the face shields that guys wore before COVID and then that extra shield over the bottom part of our facemask," Jackson said. "Like I said, the protocols are a little bit over the top and every time we take our helmet off -- we can’t take our helmet off or we have to put our mask on if we want to take our helmet off when we’re on the field. The protocols are a little crazy right now but they’re all in the name of trying to keep everybody safe. So, for us as a team I think we’ve done a great job following all these protocols and doing the right thing just so we can all stay safe."
Starting right tackle DeMar Dotson and reserve guard Austin Schlottmann are the players who were close contact players to Glasgow. They did test negative today. Both were listed as questionable on the injury report, and if they test negative again will be eligible to play, per sources.
The reason the Broncos were eligible to practice Friday was that they chose to take the proactive step of remaining in intensive COVID-19 protocols after Modkins’ positive test. That is why the league said the team could practice Friday. Coach Vic Fangio chose to play it safe.
Fangio has been on point with how he has handled COVID-19 issues. He had the green light from the NFL to practice today, but he chose to keep all players home. Safety has been the top priority with the team, as it has been since camp.
Here is the Broncos statement in full:
“We were informed early this morning that a Broncos player has tested positive for COVID-19.
“The player is at home in self-isolation along with two other players who were determined to be close contacts. Our organization, which has been operating under the league’s intensive protocols, is in consultation with the NFL and taking guidance from medical experts.
“As a precaution, we have made the decision to postpone today’s practice and conduct virtual meetings in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Chargers. The team is scheduled to return to UCHealth Training Center for practice tomorrow.
“The health and safety of the players, coaches and staff will continue to be of the highest priority.”