ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Saturday that both tackle Demar Dotson and guard Austin Schlottmann have been cleared to start in Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers after consecutive negative COVID-19 tests.
The two were initially told to isolate Friday after Broncos guard Graham Glasgow had tested positive for the virus and was moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list.
“They both are cleared to go, which is a credit to them too and the entire operation here,” Fangio said after Saturday’s practice. “They were cleared because we were under these [enhanced] protocols and we chose voluntarily to be under intensive protocols, so that helped. These guys have done a good job wearing their masks and keeping their distance enough they weren’t deemed a risk there.”
Fangio credited the fact that the Broncos have remained under the NFL’s enhanced protocols, which are put in place following positive tests and include increased social distancing in the facility and additional face shields worn in practices, since running backs coach Curtis Modkins tested positive earlier this month.
Modkins returned to practices and to work in the team’s facility this week.
Also Saturday, Fangio said running back Phillip Lindsay would be cleared from the concussion protocol if he passes one additional post-concussion evaluation Saturday afternoon. The Broncos expect Lindsay to play against the Chargers barring any setback in that evaluation, while Fangio said wide receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) will work out for the team’s trainers before Sunday’s game before a decision is made on Patrick’s status.
The negative test results Saturday mean Dotson will start at right tackle against the Chargers and Schlottmann will start in Glasgow’s right guard spot. Fangio took Saturday’s COVID-19 report from Broncos director of sports medicine Steve Antonopulos as good news and said he is routinely on edge before Antonopulos informs him of the latest testing results each morning.
“You get nervous every night,” Fangio said. “Every day I wake up to a text or a voice mail from [Antonopulos] because he gets the results from the testing people early in the morning, I believe at 4 in the morning, and he always texts me or calls me with the results. So that’s a daily operation right there.”
Though the Broncos had been cleared to practice Friday by the NFL’s medical team in the wake of Glasgow’s positive test result as well as offensive line coach Mike Munchak being under the COVID-19 protocols when the week began, Fangio elected to keep the players away from the team’s complex Friday as a precaution, and the Broncos did not practice.
“We were cleared. … Really it was just my gut that I thought it was the right thing to do at that time,” Fangio said. ” … I was glad I did it in retrospect.”
Fangio was also asked, given the status of Munchak and Glasgow, if any of the team’s other offensive linemen have expressed concern about the virus.
“Not to me personally, but I’m sure they are concerned — that would be the natural thing to be,” Fangio said. “But I think they have confidence in the system, the protocols and what we’re doing here to be OK with it all.”
Glasgow took to Twitter Friday afternoon and posted: “Hey everybody. I appreciate all the well wishes. Feeling pretty good right now. I’m hoping to stay healthy through this and get back out on the field as soon as I can. Until then, stay safe and go Broncos!”