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Bronco notes: Team shielding against coronavirus with extra precautions

Players are wearing extra face coverings in practice and the trainer's room. Meanwhile, RB Phillip Lindsay returned to practice.
Credit: AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio looks on against the Kansas City Chiefs during a football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Denver.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — You know those large face shields painter contractors wear, or clear plastic face coverings a medical lab researcher might use?

Broncos safety Kareem Jackson was wearing one of those large, protective visors as he sat down for his Zoom media conference Thursday.

“Right now, the protocols are a little over the top,’’ Jackson said after removing the shield.

Players must wear the shields when they’re in the training room.

“And on the practice field we’re wearing these extra shields over our facemask,’’ Jackson said. “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.

“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.”

As the planet knows, the coronavirus is going around with a vengeance again and the Broncos are not immune. In the last two weeks, multiple staff employees and running backs coach Curtis Modkins have tested positive for COVID-19. Modkins has returned to the team but offensive line coach Mike Munchak is quarantining away from team headquarters because he either came in close contact with someone who has the virus or he tested positive.

This has led to the ramped-up “intensive protocol” restrictions and requirements at Broncos’ headquarters.

Are the players concerned for their own health?

“No complaints from the players,’’ Jackson said. “The only complaint is us not being able to breathe as well with that extra shield. But other than that, everything else has been fine.”

The Chargers, meanwhile, had to take the more serious measure of canceling practice Thursday because a player, right guard Ryan Groy, tested positive for the virus. The Broncos play the Chargers this Sunday in Denver. The game is expected to be played as scheduled despite the positive test.

Jackson himself tested positive for COVID in mid-June. Jackson, Von Miller and Andrew Beck are the only Broncos’ players who have tested positive for the virus – with each case coming before training camp began.

Jackson said because he tested positive he takes a monthly antibody test.

“As of now, I’m still positive for the antibodies,’’ he said.

Which is a good thing.

“From my understanding, if you have the antibodies you’re supposed to be pretty safe,’’ he said. “So, that’s something that I continue to do monthly just to make sure that I do still have antibodies.”

Lindsay returns to practice, Patrick still out

Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday. Although he remains in the concussion protocol, Lindsay seems to be recovering quicker than other players with more serious concussions. He rushed for 79 yards on only 9 carries in the first half, but missed the second half of the Broncos’ game Sunday against Kansas City because of a concussion he received on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Chiefs safety Daniel Sorenson.

Although a final determination on Lindsay’s playing status against the Chargers probably won’t be made until Saturday, his presence Thursday during Broncos' individual and position drills was an encouraging sign.

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Less encouraging was that No. 1 receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) and top returner Diontae Spencer (shoulder) remained working on the side. Then again, left guard Dalton Risner didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday last week because of a shoulder injury, but he still played every offensive snap in the game Sunday.