LAKE FOREST – The good news for the Bears is that a player actually returned from the COVID-19 protocol on Friday for the first time this entire week.
But two more players have gone on the list as well during an outbreak that’s hit Halas Hall particularly hard this week.
On Friday, it was quarterback Andy Dalton and cornerback Duke Shelley who were added to the protocol, bringing the total this week to 13 players and three coaches who have made it to the list.
At least offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson was able to return to practice for the first time since he was put into the COVID-19 protocol on November 26th.
Dalton was looking to return as the backup quarterback after a hand injury forced him to miss Sunday’s game against the Packers. Should he not register two negative tests before Monday night’s game against the Vikings, Nick Foles will serve as the backup for starter Justin Fields.
Shelley was hoping to return to the lineup after just beginning to practice after three weeks on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. The second-year defensive back has 33 tackles with three pass break-ups in nine games.
These players join a number of others on the team who’ve ended up in the protocol during a difficult week at Halas Hall. On Thursday, wide receiver Allen Robinson, safety Eddie Jackson, tight end Jesse James, linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, running back Ryan Nall, and practice squad wide receiver Isaiah Coulter went on the list.
Before that, offensive tackle Larry Borom, cornerback Artie Burns, defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., nose tackle Eddie Goldman, and practice squad linebacker Sam Kamara were added earlier in the week.
On top of that, all three of the team’s coordinators are in the protocol after positive COVID-19 tests, with Bill Lazor, Sean Desai, and Chris Tabor all working remotely this week.