Punter Corey Bojorquez among five Packers added to COVID-19 list; Kenny Clark says ailment 'hit me pretty hard'
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers added five more players to the reserve/COVID-19 list, but with the NFL lowering its required days of quarantine to five, it’s possible several will be able to play against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
The additions raised the number of players on the list to 17, but it came down one later in the day when wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling was returned to the active roster. He was placed on the list Dec. 21.
The latest to go on the list were punter Corey Bojorquez, end Kingsley Keke, safety Henry Black, tight end Tyler Davis and newly signed practice squad cornerback Jayson Stanley. Normally, all would ineligible to return in time for the Vikings game.
But the NFL adjusted the quarantine time to account for players who are asymptomatic and not likely to spread the virus five days after testing positive.
Some of the players who were added to the list Wednesday actually tested positive Tuesday and not in time for the Packers to submit the reserve/COVID-19 transaction before the end of the business day. Thus, they would be eligible to return Sunday.
Among those, according to a source, is Bojorquez.
The Packers can least afford not to have him, and they are expected to sign a punter to the practice squad Thursday. But if Bojorquez is asymptomatic, they can expect him to be ready to play against the Vikings.
The Packers have had 13 players go on the list over the last three days, but the only starters among that group were tight end Marcedes Lewis and Bojorquez. Lewis went on the list Tuesday, so he has a chance to be back Sunday.
Nose tackle Kenny Clark provided a glimpse into what it’s like to deal with a COVID-19 infection. He tested positive Dec. 16 when the NFL was testing every player once a week. Testing is now limited to those who are having COVID-19 symptoms and those chosen at random or as part of a targeted position group where an outbreak may have taken place.
Clark was symptomatic.
“The first three days when I got it, it hit me pretty hard,” Clark said. “I lost some weight. I was like my chest, my throat, everything was just hurting. I had a bad cough. I had every everything besides like the chills.”
Under the new protocols, Clark might have been eligible to return to play against the Baltimore Ravens because five days had passed and his symptoms were subsiding. But looking back at it, he didn’t think it would have been smart to play at the time.
“I definitely would have wanted to play,” he said. “But everybody's different. Some people don't get symptoms at all. Some people do or some people get mild symptoms.
“I mean, if I would have been able to play, me personally, I would have wanted to play, but they would have seen me and they probably would have been like, ‘Nah, you can't. There's no way we're gonna throw you out there looking like this or feeling like this.”
Clark’s experience is an insight into why some players take longer than others to recover after testing positive. It’s why it’s almost impossible to predict when someone will return unless they are completely asymptomatic.
Clark said he was not ready to play as many snaps as he wound up playing.
“The second half, I was so tired out there, man,” Clark said. “And the plan, I wasn't supposed to play 60 snaps but, ‘T’ (Tyler Lancaster) got banged up and then Dean got banged up for a play. And I had to play way more than I was supposed to.”
The Packers have spread out their position group meetings and moved to less interaction within the building. The NFL also reimplemented mask requirements, regardless of vaccination status. LaFleur had mentioned last week possibly employing stricter protocols for his team if cases started to spike. To this point, the Packers had been able to avoid the huge surges that have been hitting other teams across the league.
Coach Matt LaFleur said he had those who aren’t in quarantine come into the building, but had the position groups spread across the building to avoid contact. Players are wearing masks and socially distancing when they are in the building.
They practice outdoors without those precautions and LaFleur said some players will go home after that.
“We're pretty fortunate that we have a facility that can accommodate us, just in terms of the space of making sure that everybody’s spread out," he said. "I think our guys are doing a good job of wearing their mask.
“We will do more virtual meetings post practice, potentially. We really kind of left it up to the position in terms of how they would like to do it. But like I said, we’ve got enough space in this building, where we can accommodate in-person meetings.”
When Packers players went on COVID-19 list
P Corey Bojorquez
DE Kingsley Keke
TE Tyler Davis
S Henry Black
CB Jayson Stanley (practice squad)
LB Oren Burks
TE Marcedes Lewis
G Ben Braden
OLB Tipa Galeai
WR Amari Rodgers
LB Ty Summers (injured reserve)
LB Chauncey Rivers (injured reserve)
DE R.J. McIntosh (practice squad)
CB Shemar Jean-Charles
CB Kevin King
OLB La’Darius Hamilton (practice squad)
Besides Bakhtiari and Turner, the Packers who did not take part in practice were quarterback Aaron Rodgers (toe) and nose tackle Tyler Lancaster (back).
Running back Aaron Jones (knee) and tight end Dominique Dafney (ankle) were limited participants.
The Vikings placed wide receiver Adam Thielen on injured reserve after it was determined he would need ankle surgery.
Safety Harrison Smith (foot/shoulder), tight end Tyler Conklin (hamstring) and linebacker Chazz Surratt (illness) did not practice. Running back Dalvin Cook, who was activated from the COVID-19 list, was limited.