NEW YORK — New York Jets Coach Robert Saleh cleared COVID-19 protocols and returned to the facility Wednesday to run practice for the first time since testing positive for the coronavirus last week.

Saleh sat out the team’s 26-21 victory over Jacksonville last Sunday, forced to watch from a hotel room while tight ends coach Ron Middleton assumed the head coaching duties.

Saleh tested positive last Wednesday after feeling symptoms, but still participated in remote team meetings. He was cleared Tuesday night and thrilled to be back Wednesday at the team’s facility in Florham Park, New Jersey.

“It’s like the first day of school,” Saleh said with a laugh. “I’m ready to go another 18 weeks.”

The Jets had as many as 25 players — on the active and practice squad rosters, and injured reserve — on the COVID-19 list as of Tuesday, and got back nine after they also cleared COVID-19 protocols.

The NFL reduced the isolation time for players who test positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, including unvaccinated players, to five days from 10. The decision made Tuesday by the league and the NFL Players Association came after the CDC changed its guidelines for those who are asymptomatic, recommending a five-day isolation period and masking over the second five days.


The Minnesota Vikings returned running back Dalvin Cook from the COVID-19 list ahead of their crucial game at Green Bay, but wide receiver Adam Thielen will be out after being placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Cook was sidelined for Minnesota’s loss to the Rams last week. He was able to take advantage of the NFL’s new shortened isolation rule, forcing asymptomatic players to sit out only five days, half of the previous requirement. Cook is unvaccinated and declined to discuss that subject when asked Wednesday before practice.

The Chiefs no longer have any players on the COVID-19 list after activating tight end Travis Kelce, linebacker Nick Bolton, right tackle Lucas Niang, cornerback Rashad Fenton, kicker Harrison Butker and punter Tommy Townsend in time to return to practice Wednesday. At one point last week, the Chiefs had an outbreak that landed 16 players on the reserve list.

In other moves:

• Buffalo had a few key players activated from the COVID-19 list, including two of its top wide receivers in Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, right guard Jon Feliciano and defensive end A.J. Epenesa.

• Indianapolis activated standout guard Quenton Nelson, fellow guard Mark Glowinski, defensive end Kemoko Turay and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin from the COVID-19 list.


• Jacksonville placed five more players on the COVID-19 list, bringing the team’s total to 24. The five latest: left tackle Cam Robinson, returner Jaydon Mickers, safety Rudy Ford, receiver Josh Hammond and linebacker Dylan Moses.

• The Denver Broncos placed safety Caden Sterns, offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland and wide receiver Tim Patrick on reserve/COVID-19 list.

• Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list. That leaves two offensive lineman, and only one starter right guard Nate Davis on the list and nine total from active roster.

• The Carolina Panthers added linebacker Haason Reddick and QB P.J. Walker to the COVID-19 list and offensive linemen Pat Elflein, OL Dennis Daley were taken off the list.

• Cleveland placed QB Nick Mullens on practice squad/COVID-19 list.

• Miami activated tight end Cethan Carter, cornerback Justin Coleman, guard Robert Jones, offensive lineman Greg Mancz and linebacker Duke Riley off the list. The team placed center Spencer Pulley on the practice squad/COVID-19 list.


• Green Bay placed S Henry Black, P Corey Bojorquez, TE Tyler Davis and DL Kingsley Keke on the COVID-19 list.

RAVENS: Quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to practice Wednesday, raising hopes that he’ll be ready to return for Sunday’s pivotal game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Jackson hasn’t practiced since a loss to the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 12, when he was carted off the field with an ankle injury. He was also inactive for the Ravens’ past two games, losses to the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals. However, Jackson was clearly hobbled in the 20 minutes of practice open to the media Wednesday.

Jackson was expected to be a limited participant Wednesday, according to Coach John Harbaugh, who added that backup quarterback Tyler Huntley is set to return to team activities Thursday. Huntley missed the Ravens’ 41-21 loss Sunday in Cincinnati after being added to the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.

PANTHERS: Coach Matt Rhule says Sam Darnold will start at quarterback on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints instead of 2015 league MVP Cam Newton.

Newton is 0-5 as Carolina’s starting quarterback this year and has lost 13 straight starts as the Panthers starting QB dating back to the 2018 season. Newton won seven games in 2020 during a one-year stint with the New England Patriots.

The Panthers (5-10) were eliminated from playoff contention last week. Darnold started the season 3-0 after being acquired from the New York Jets for three draft picks, but has a 1-5 record in his last six starts. He led the Panthers to a 26-7 win over the Saints in Week 2, completing 26 of 38 passes for 305 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Rhule said Newton will be ready to play if needed, but wouldn’t commit to using him in two-quarterbacks role as he did last week with both QBs rotating against Tampa Bay.

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