Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson said the NFL is using his team's COVID-19 protocol violations as a way to send a message to other teams.
The Broncos were forced to use practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at starting quarterback in the team's 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday because quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were removed from Saturday's practice and defined as high-risk' close contacts of quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. All of the quarterbacks were told to self-isolate to comply with the league's COVID-19 protocol.
The quarterbacks had gathered for film study Tuesday, but did not wear masks or socially distance, which the NFL discovered after looking at surveillance footage. The Broncos said Saturday that Lock, Rypien and Bortles "have consistently tested negative for COVID-19" and weren't experiencing symptoms.
Broncos safety Kareem Jackson thinks the NFL is using his team as an example. (Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
"I feel like maybe (the game) could have been moved, but at the same time, maybe the league was making an example of us as far as maybe not doing the things we needed to do in that particular room, that quarterback room,'' Jackson said. "Obviously, the guys didn't follow their protocols, and for (the NFL) to see that, I guess they felt like they had to make an example, so at the end of (the) day, it is what it is.
Hinton, 23, only had one completed pass attempt, finishing 1-for-9 with 13 yards and two interceptions. The Broncos had only 112 yards of offense.
"Obviously, it's our guys' fault for not wearing their masks, but at least maybe move the game to the next day or whenever so we're given a fighting chance. (It is) obviously disappointing. I'm not sure why it wasn't moved. I have no clue … as a competitor, (it is) definitely frustrating.''
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