Ezekiel Elliott’s positive COVID-19 test raises player safety questions for NFL

Ezekiel Elliott’s positive test for COVID-19 is raising questions about player safety as the NFL attempts to play a full season this fall.

Elliott and an unknown number of other Cowboys and Houston Texans players tested positive for coronavirus, according to reports on Monday.

NFL agent and attorney Walter Musgrove says he’s all too familiar with the risk reward tightrope of getting professional athletes back on the field. Even though he does not represent Elliott, he is closely watching what happens with the running back.

“Although the NFL has put out their protocols, the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) hasn’t necessarily approved those protocols so we are still trying to determine when and how the players will return,” Musgrove said.

The agent said it will be interesting to watch — especially now— how things continue to play out between the league and players union.

“Once they do return and they start testing the players, I do think at that point if enough players test positive, then they definitely will have to look at how they are going to change or if they are going to start the season on time,” Musgrove said.

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The NFLPA is already sounding the alarm pointing to the disproportionate number of COVID-19 complications among African Americans and people with a body mass index over 30, which would include most linemen.

In early April, Elliott and QB Dak Prescott faced criticism for a Dez Bryant tweet showing them in a group of players who’d worked out together. Prescott and Elliott appeared together the following weekend at what Prescott described as a small house party.

Musgrove cautions about drawing conclusions about Elliott’s behavior.

“Of course people will naturally say that’s the result of that, which doesn’t necessarily mean that he now has COVID because of that,” Musgrove said.

And if there’s any silver lining, he says, it might be the impact on the broader community.

“The fact that Zeke Elliot contracted the virus, they’ll think twice about how they interact,” Musgrove said.

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