Mike Gesicki, Daron Payne latest big names sidelined as NFL’s COVID-19 problem grows

The Washington Football Team's Daron Payne and the Miami Dolphins' Mike Gesicki are the latest names added to the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list.

Sunday brought another round of discouraging news regarding the NFL’s battle against COVID-19. Washington Football Team’s Daron Payne and the Miami Dolphins’ Mike Gesicki are the latest big names to go on the reserve/COVID-19 list as the NFL’s problem continues to grow.

Nearly 10% of Washington Football Team’s roster on NFL’s COVID-19 list

The NFL currently has more than 50 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including nine Arizona Cardinals, the most of any team in the league.

As for Washington, defensive tackle Daron Payne becomes the seventh WFT player currently on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, joining offensive linemen Brandon Scherff, Cornelius Lucas, and David Sharpe. Wide receiver Curtis Samuel, defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis, and safety Chris Miller round out the list of WFT players.

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Miami Dolphins add Mike Gesicki and other TEs to NFL’s COVID-19 list

Meanwhile in Miami, Dolphins co-offensive coordinator George Godsey has reportedly tested positive. As a result, three tight ends — including star Mike Gesicki — have been sidelined, at least temporarily, by league protocols.

The Dolphins put Gesicki, Adam Shaheen, and Cethan Carter — who all play the position Godsey coaches in addition to running the offense — on the list. However, it’s unclear if all or any have had a positive test result.

Players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list either have tested positive for coronavirus or are unvaccinated and have had close contact with someone who has. The team goes to great lengths to protect the medical privacy of players and coaches. Shaheen, however, has been very open about his vaccine skepticism.

The bio on Shaheen’s Twitter account reads “I will not comply,” his location is set as “Somewhere without a mask,” and he’s retweeted a number of anti-vaxx messages, including a statement by Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley.

Gesicki, meanwhile, spoke to reporters maskless this week. Based on league protocols, this suggests that he has been vaccinated.

Healthy after a significant late-season shoulder injury, Gesicki ranks 10th on Pro Football Network’s list of tight ends entering the 2021 season. He set career highs in catches (53), receiving yards (703), and touchdowns (6) last year.

But for now, the Dolphins’ COVID-19 issues pale in comparison to those of WFT.

HC Ron Rivera frustrated over team’s reluctance to get the vaccine

The Washington Football Team lags behind the NFL average in locker room COVID-19 vaccination rates. WFT coach Ron Rivera has spoken publicly about his disappointment and frustration over his team’s relative reluctance to get immunized.

“To be very honest, that’s going to make things difficult, and that’s the thing we have to be aware of,” Rivera said Saturday. “It makes it difficult in terms of everybody working together. Difficult on us as coaches with our evaluations and the scouts. It will be difficult on the player because having time off, not really getting an opportunity to work, develop, grow and learn, that’s the downfall, and the downside.

“I mentioned it to our guys. I said, ‘you know, here is the what if scenario: what if this had been game day Sunday for the opener?’ Even though it’s only contact tracing for some of them, that’s five days. So, if this is the opener, imagine this, opening against Los Angeles, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, playing Thursday night against the Giants. Those guys would not be eligible. So, to me, it brings the reality of what the rules are, and I hope it helps. But again, these young men have to make their decisions.”

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Adam Beasley is the NFL Insider for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.

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