New York Jets get coach Robert Saleh, six players back from COVID-19 protocols

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 29, 2021

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- After seven days in quarantine, New York Jets coach Robert Saleh cleared the COVID-19 protocols Wednesday morning and returned to the team.

"It's like the first day of school," Saleh said. "[I'm] ready to go another 18 weeks."

Saleh tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 22 and moved into a nearby hotel, where he remained active in the virtual meetings. Interim coach Ron Middleton, usually the tight ends coach, ran practice and led the team in Sunday's 26-21 home victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"Knowing the type of personality he has as a coach, it killed him not to be there on Sunday," tackle Morgan Moses said. "It's good to have him back because he's such a big part of this team. He gets all the guys together. He's the energy driver, too."

The Jets (4-11) went into that game with 20 players, including seven starters, on the reserve/COVID-19 list. On Wednesday, they activated six to the active roster, including defensive line starters John Franklin-Myers and Folorunso Fatukasiandstarting nickelback Michael Carter II.

Also activated were backup quarterback Joe Flacco, tight end Kenny Yeboah and linebacker Hamsah Nasirildeen. Flacco, who is unvaccinated and was placed on the COVID-list Thursday, was able to return earlier than expected because of the NFL's isolation protocols that were changed Tuesday.

The Jets still have 17 players on the COVID-19 list, including nine who were on the active roster. They are hopeful that guards Alijah Vera-Tucker and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and safety Ashtyn Davis, among others, will be activated for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and cornerback Bryce Hall are 50-50 to be activated, according to Saleh.

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