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Malik Reed out with COVID-19 while Bryce Callahan returns

Virus has sidelined 7 Lions players the past week.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos outside linebacker Malik Reed (59) lines up against the Washington Football Team during an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Even if the worry to COVID-19 has diminished this year compared to 2020, its been nearly as disruptive to the Broncos this year.

Malik Reed, the Broncos' most productive pass rusher with 5.0 sacks, became the team's 12th player to test positive for the virus in the past 6 1/2 weeks. Fans are back to fill Empower Field at Mile High to full capacity (minus the roughly 10,000 no-shows) this season but Reed will not play Sunday against the Detroit Lions, who have placed seven players in the league's COVID-19 protocols in the past six days.

Reed on Saturday joined backup running back Mike Boone and core special teamer P.J.Locke as Bronco players who tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours. Not only will those three players miss the game against the Lions, but there is a good chance they will not be cleared to play the following week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Although vaccinated players can be cleared after back-to-back negative tests, none of the Broncos' previous COVID cases returned before 10 days.

To help compensate for those three player losses, the Broncos activated three players from their injured reserve list Saturday: Slot cornerback Bryce Callahan, special teamer/backup corner Michael Ojemudia and inside linebacker Micah Kiser.

Callahan returned earlier than initially projected from his knee injury suffered October 31 against Washington.

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Credit: AP
Denver Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan (29) defends during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

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