Drew Lock apologized on Sunday for his role in a massive violation of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols last week — something that resulted in all four of the Denver Broncos’ quarterbacks missing their 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio, however, is still upset.
Third-string quarterback Jeff Driskel was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were then all ruled ineligible for Sunday’s game due to contact tracing. Fangio said that the exposure came Tuesday when the players were all watching film together.
The team eventually brought up wide receiver Kendall Hinton from the practice squad to start — though only after the league reportedly shut down the Broncos’ plan to bring in offensive quality control coach Rob Calabrese to start.
Via Twitter, Lock said:
“I sincerely apologize and I fully understand why these safety precautions are so important. Doing the right thing for a majority of the time is not good enough. I pray for my teammates’ health, safety and success today. I look forward to getting on the field next week.”
Vic Fangio blames Drew Lock, QBs
While Lock apologized, Fangio isn’t letting him or the rest of the quarterbacks room off the hook.
Via The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones, Fangio said:
“I was disappointed on several levels that our QBs put us in that position, that our QBs put the league in that position. We count on them to be the leaders of our team, the leaders of our offense, and those guys made a mistake.”
He did, though, shoulder some blame.
“I haven’t done a good enough job of selling the protocols to them when they’re on their own,” Fangio said. “That’s on me.”
Drew Lock: We’re taking COVID seriously
Lock also insisted that both he and the team are taking the coronavirus and all of the rules and precautions implemented by the NFL seriously — though clearly not seriously enough.
He said they “let our masking slip” briefly, which is what resulted in all of the quarterbacks missing the game.
“As a proud member of the Denver Broncos, I can attest that our entire team has taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, following all the rules to keep each other safe,” he wrote. “We’re tested daily, get quick results and are confident our facility is a safe environment for everyone.
“In a controlled and socially distanced area, we let our masking slip for a limited amount of time. An honest mistake, but one I will own.”
Lock’s absence, along with everyone else’s, was clearly felt.
Hinton didn’t complete a pass in the opening half, and went 0-of-7 with an interception as the Broncos fell into a 17-0 hole almost instantly.
He finally completed a pass in the third quarter — Hinton found tight end Noah Fant for a 13-yard gain on Denver’s opening drive of the half — but then threw an interception two plays later. Hinton finished 1-of-9 for 13 yards, with two interceptions and one sack.
As long as Lock doesn’t test positive, he should be cleared to rejoin the Broncos in time for their game against the Kansas City Chiefs next week.
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