Cowboys’ McCarthy out vs. Saints after positive COVID test

Nov 28, 2021, 6:30 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2021, 1:46 pm
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy watches play against the Las Vegas Raiders in the first hal...

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy watches play against the Las Vegas Raiders in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy checked into the team hotel the day after the Thanksgiving game as a precaution with COVID-19 infections spreading on his staff.

McCarthy ended up testing positive anyway, and isn’t the only one in his family dealing with the virus.

The second-year Dallas coach is out for Thursday night’s game in New Orleans, and will be among six coaches and staff members not making the trip because of positive tests. Right tackle Terence Steele also is out against the Saints after testing positive.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, in his first year with the Cowboys after getting fired during his sixth season as coach in Atlanta last year, will handle head coaching responsibilities in New Orleans. Quinn will move from the press box to the sideline.

McCarthy, who is vaccinated along with the entire staff, said he had a “scratchy” throat but mostly felt fine. He told players about the positive test during a virtual meeting Monday morning.

“Just stressed again, no different than I normally do, just stressed it from a personal perspective that this is real,” said McCarthy, who said family members had tested positive as well. “I’d like to think that I was super cautious. I just think it shows you the danger of the pandemic and the virus.”

The team is conducting meetings virtually while holding in-person practices. McCarthy said Tuesday’s activities also would be virtual, but he wasn’t sure about Wednesday. The team normally conducts a walkthrough-type practice the day before a game, also a travel day for road games.

The Cowboys had a COVID-19 outbreak in the preseason and early part of the regular season. There was a lull for about a month before cases ticked up again, starting with kicker Greg Zuerlein in early November.

Right tackle Terence Steele won’t play against the Saints after testing positive for COVID-19. Offensive line coach Joe Philbin and his assistant, Jeff Blasko, are out along with offensive assistant Scott Tolzien.

Two members of the strength and conditioning staff won’t make the trip: coordinator Harold Nash Jr. and assistant Kendall Smith. Another assistant in protocols, Cedric Smith, is expected to be cleared to return.

“Going through it last year and not really knowing, I definitely felt there was times that it affected the energy of our team,” McCarthy said. “But that’s something we’ll frankly talk about and acknowledge, and at the end of the day we’re going to have 48 guys with that star on their helmet and it will be their responsibility with all the support in the world to go out there and win that game Thursday night.”

Receiver Amari Cooper, who isn’t vaccinated, missed the past two games after testing positive for COVID-19. He returned to headquarters Monday but didn’t participate in practice. McCarthy said the concern with Cooper was conditioning, which might raise questions whether he plays against the Saints.

Steele would be the eighth Dallas player to miss a game because of the coronavirus. Four-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin missed the opener, and starting defensive end Randy Gregory was out the second week.

“COVID is always something we’re going to have think about this year, and we’re having a little outbreak right now,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said Sunday, when the club announced positive tests for Steele, Blasko, Tolzien and Nash. “Guys just to make sure we’re taking that extra precaution and making sure we’re keeping ourselves, our families and our teammates safe.”

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Minnesota Wild's Matt Dumba takes a knee during the national anthem flanked by Edmonton Oile...
Associated Press

‘It’s not right’: Players want more from NHL against racism

For too long, Matt Dumba felt he was on his own dealing with racial taunts directed at him as a youngster growing up in Saskatchewan. It was no different for Dumba as an adult, one of just a handful of minority players in the National Hockey League. Even in a circle of his fellow players, […]
1 day ago
Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell looks on in the first half of an NCAA college football game agains...
Associated Press

After surge in first-half firings, can seasons be salvaged?

The move was shocking for its timing and memorable for its location. Lane Kiffin was fired by Southern California on Sept. 29, 2013, just five games into the season, on the airport tarmac after the team plane returned home from Arizona State. While not unprecedented, such an early coaching change was rare and a harbinger […]
1 day ago
FILE - Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, speaks during a news conference in Chica...
Associated Press

Brittney Griner at ‘weakest moment’ in Russia, her wife says

WASHINGTON (AP) — WNBA star Brittney Griner is at her “absolute weakest moment in life right now” as she faces a hearing in Russia later this month for her appeal of a nine-year prison sentence for drug possession, Griner’s wife said in an interview aired Thursday. Cherelle Griner told CBS “This Morning” that her wife, […]
1 day ago
Manchester City's Kyle Walker, left, challenges for the ball with Manchester United's Tyrell Malaci...
Associated Press

Kyle Walker in doubt for World Cup after groin surgery

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — England defender Kyle Walker is in doubt for this year’s World Cup after undergoing groin surgery this week. The Manchester City player sustained the injury in the win 6-3 over Manchester United on Sunday. He was taken off the field in the 41st minute. “As players we have to appreciate injuries […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

France ski world blasts Asian Winter Games in Saudi Arabia

PARIS (AP) — The French ski federation, mayors from mountain resorts and ski instructors lashed out Thursday at the decision to award the 2029 Asian Winter Games to Saudi Arabia, saying the decision goes against “what is desirable for the planet.” In a joint statement also signed by the union of ski area operators, they […]
1 day ago
New York Mets manager Buck Showalter watches the game action against the Pittsburgh Pirates during ...
Associated Press

Buck’s back: Showalter gets another October shot with Mets

NEW YORK (AP) — The last time Buck Showalter managed a playoff game, he ended up on the hot seat after an agonizing loss for Baltimore. Six years later, a shot at redemption begins Friday with the New York Mets. The popular Showalter takes his fourth franchise to the postseason this weekend when the Mets […]
1 day ago
Cowboys’ McCarthy out vs. Saints after positive COVID test