After a chaotic preseason that saw multiple star players, including Quenton Nelson and TY Hilton go down with injuries, the Indianapolis Colts were looking to finally get some stability now that quarterback Carson Wentz returned from his foot ailment ahead of their Week 1 game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Wentz was eyeing a bounce-back season under former Eagles OC Frank Reich to show the world that his benching for Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia was an anomaly of the 2020 season rather than an indictment of his abilities.
On top of the foot injury that forced Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger to take all of the preseason snaps in his stead, Wentz is now dealing with a health issue will set him back further.
Wentz — in addition to Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly and wide receiver Zach Pascal — was placed on the reserve COVID-19 list. While it remains to be seen, it’s unknown if Wentz or Pascal have been vaccinated, and it’s possible they could miss the Seattle game if they are aren’t. Kelly, as confirmed by Colts insider Zak Keefer, is not vaccinated. Based on the protocol these players are subject to, though, it’s suggested they aren’t vaccinated, because vaccinated players do not land on the COVID list if they’re a high-risk close contact, as stated in the NFL’s new guidelines.
Colts QB Carson Wentz landed on the COVID-19 list.
Earlier in the offseason, Wentz declined to say if he got the vaccine, calling it a personal decision. As we have been shown several times over given how the NFL is dealing with this virus, players who are unvaccinated stand to potentially cost their team games by impacting who is able to play on Sunday.
Nonetheless, this move comes days after Nelson and left tackle Eric Fisher were placed on the COVID-19 list, though Nelson was swiftly removed. While vaccinated players who test positive can return after consecutive negative tests 24 hours apart, unvaccinated players will need to isolate for a longer period of time.
If Wentz isn’t vaccinated, is infected, and doesn’t show any symptoms, he would have to isolate for 10 days, which would put him on track to return on Thursday, Sept. 9, just days before the game. He would miss five days if he didn’t test positive and is merely a close contact.
If Wentz misses the maximum amount of time, it’s doubtful he’ll start Week 1, which means Jacob Eason will be the guy since Sam Ehlinger suffered a knee sprain in the preseason finale. Look for someone like rookie standout Mike Strachan to replace Pascal and a player like Danny Pinter to move over to center in Kelly’s absence.
Don’t say we didn’t tell you the Colts’ lagging vaccination rate would be a problem in 2021.