NFL News and Rumors: NFL ends COVID-19 protocols; Texans to re-sign Jimmy Morrissey, Davion Davis

PFN National Insider Aaron Wilson's NFL news/rumors for March 3 starts with the Houston Texans re-signing WR Davion Davis.

With NFL free agency right around the corner and the 2022 NFL Combine taking to the field today, here are the latest news and rumors around the league from PFN National NFL Insider Aaron Wilson. Make sure to continue to check back here as we update you with the most recent NFL news and rumors on March 3, 2022.

NFL News and Rumors: Texans expected to sign Jimmy Morrissey to one-year contract

INDIANAPOLIS — Houston is expected to officially sign Morrissey to a one-year contract, according to a league source not authorized to speak publicly. The former Las Vegas Raiders seventh-round draft pick played in five games with four starts for the Texans when veteran center Justin Britt (a pending unrestricted free agent) was sidelined.

A former Pitt walk-on and Burlsworth Trophy award winner — given to the most outstanding college football player who began their career as a walk-on –, Morrissey was signed off of the Raiders’ practice squad to the Texans’ active roster.

“It’s been a dream come true,” Morrissey said during the season. “Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a starting center in the NFL.”

The Texans see a lot of potential in Morrissey, who was a three-time All-ACC selection, a four-time all-academic selection, and a 47-game starter at Pitt.

What they are saying Morrissey

The early reviews on Morrissey were encouraging from his teammates.

“Jimmy’s a good dude,” veteran defensive tackle Maliek Collins said. “He was always, even before this opportunity presented itself to him. He was in there giving great looks. Gritty, tough guy, I like him a lot.”

A 6-foot-4, 305-pounder who was an All-Catholic League and All-City selection in Philadelphia, Morrissey chose to be a preferred walk-on at Pitt over scholarship offers from Lehigh, Bucknell, and Colgate. He earned a scholarship after enrolling at Pitt.

The Burlsworth Trophy is named after the late Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Brandon Burlsworth, a former walk-on at Arkansas who earned a scholarship and became a consensus All-American. Burlsworth was killed in a car accident on April 28, 1999, in Alpena, Arkansas, 11 days after he was drafted.

“I was happy to go back to Pittsburgh and finally meet with the Burlsworth family in person,” Morrissey said. “The Burlsworth Trophy is a special award, just because it obviously remembers Brandon Burlsworth and such an amazing but tragic story he had.

“It really honors walk-ons all across the country. It’s a tough battle to get a scholarship and play and have a successful career in college. I was really fortunate, and that’s an important award to me that I will always remember. It was pretty cool to me, going back home.”

NFL News and Rumors: NFL announces end of COVID-19 protocols, effective immediately

INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL is shutting down its COVID-19 protocols, effectively immediately, due to encouraging trends in the coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo issued to all chief executives, presidents, general managers, team doctors, athletic trainers, club infection control officers, and club lawyers from the NFL Management Council, the league informed them that COVID-19 protocols have been suspended.

“Based on encouraging trends regarding the prevalence and severity of COVID-19, the evolving guidance from the CDC, changes to state law and the counsel of our respective experts, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to suspend all aspects of the joint COVID-19 Protocols, effective immediately,” the memo stated.

“We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of players, coaches and staff as we have throughout the pandemic. Should there be a reason to reimpose aspects of the Protocols or to take other measures, we will work closely with clubs, the NFLPA and our respective experts, and local, state and federal public health officials to continue to safeguard the health of the NFL community. Notwithstanding the suspension of the formal Protocols, clubs are required to remain in compliance with state and local law and are free to continue reasonable measures to protect their staff and players.”

Recapping the major changes

Among the changes: No more mandatory surveillance testing of players or staff regardless of vaccination status and removal of testing trailers. However, they still want clubs to have a space inside team facilities to have at least 10 docks for individuals who report symptoms and require testing. But there are no more Kinexon tracking devices or mask requirements in club facilities.

The NFL does require that individuals experiencing COVID symptoms report them and be tested and test negative prior to entering the team facilities. Any individual who tests positive must isolate for five days after a positive test, consistent with CDC guidance.

Texans re-signing Davion Davis

INDIANAPOLIS — The Houston Texans are re-signing wide receiver Davion Davis to a new contract, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

Davis was placed on injured reserve last season after fracturing his ankle and undergoing surgery. He is making a sound recovery from the injury, per sources. He suffered the season-ending injury on the first play of the Texans’ 33-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks while catching a 17-yard pass from quarterback Davis Mills.

Davis played last season under a one-year, $780,000 contract. He is a former Sam Houston State All-American selection the Texans signed off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad. He has also played for the Minnesota Vikings.

Davis (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) caught 52 passes for 569 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior. He had 76 catches for 1,206 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior and was the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year that season.

However, the Texans’ depth chart at wide receiver currently looks extremely thin. Brandin Cooks leads the way with Nico Collins and Phillip Dorsett currently penciled in as the other starters. Still, depending on if the Texans add any veterans this offseason, Davis has a chance to make a play for a starting role with the Texans in 2022.

Stay up to date with the latest in NFL free agency

As the league transitions into free agency, there will be plenty of news and rumors from around the NFL regarding your favorite team. That includes chatter about players who will be on the move (or not) in free agency. Stay updated and keep track of Pro Football Network’s Top 75 Free Agent Rankings to better understand the free agent market.

Aaron Wilson is the NFL Insider for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL.

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