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Noah Fant placed on COVID-19 reserve

Team amps up testing after their starting tight end became second player in back-to-back weeks to be placed in virus protocols.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (87) looks on during the national anthem before the start of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the world’s human race learned a year ago, COVID-19 doesn’t care.

It doesn’t care if you’re a backup guard like Netane Muti, or first-round starting tight end like Noah Fant. The virus has proven to be randomly disruptive. According to the NFL transaction wire, Fant became the second Broncos player to test positive for the virus in back-to-back weeks as he was placed on the league’s COVID-19 reserve list Tuesday. Muti, who has started two games this year at right guard but otherwise has been a backup, remains in the league’s protocol after testing positive last week.

“We’re taking all the precautions. There’s always concern,’’ Broncos general manager George Paton said at his first annual post-trade deadline press conference. “We have great people in charge of that. So we’re going through all the proper protocols. So, yeah, we’re always concerned.”

The NFL requires advanced protocols for those who are deemed close contacts – i.e., increased mask wearing. As an added precaution, the Broncos because of the recent spike of cases in Colorado have increased testing among their players, coaches and staff.

Last year, several Broncos’ assistant coaches and players missed games because of the virus. Most infamously, the entire quarterback room of Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles was disqualified from playing in a game against New Orleans because of close contact and protocol violations after Driskel tested positive. Current Broncos receiver Kendall Hinton was asked to play quarterback and it didn’t go well in a 31-3 defeat – although the play sheet the then-rookie receiver wore on his arm band was sent for display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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