Bills’ Starting Tackle Suffers Setback, Likely out for Week 15

Dion Dawkins

Getty Dion Dawkins on the field during a game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Just as the Buffalo Bills got good news about one key offensive player, they got some terrible news about another.

Head coach Sean McDermott announced on Friday, December 17 that quarterback Josh Allen would be ready to play in Week 15 after suffering a foot injury in the December 12 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But another offensive starter would likely miss the game after testing positive for COVID-19 for the second time in just a few months.

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Bad News Bills

As McDermott was delivering the upbeat update on Allen, he also shared that starting left tackle Dion Dawkins had tested positive for COVID-19. This is now his second time testing positive, after having a serious bout during the summer before the season started.

McDermott said he was not sure yet whether Dawkins would play against the Panthers, but it would be unlikely as he needs two negative tests at least 24 hours apart, and there would be little time for that to happen before Sunday.

“We’ll see, we’ll see where his situation ends up and also where if he’s not in there, what we will do in terms of juggling the offensive line and moving people around if need be,” McDermott told reporters on Friday, via WIVB in Buffalo.

But McDermott added that Dawkins’ availability came second to his health.

“Always thinking of him, praying for him, his health and safety,” McDermott said.

“That’s the first thing, that’s the first place your mind goes to and how this person will handle it and in this case he’s had it before and certainly had some challenges there so we’re gonna do all we can to support him and make sure that number one he is as healthy as possible, working to get as healthy as possible, as soon as possible here.”

The Bills have had a number of key players placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list this season, including starting right tackle Spencer Brown and defensive lineman Star Lotulelei. Backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky and Jake Fromm were also placed on the list, leaving Davis Webb as the only active backup behind Allen.


Dawkins Opened up About Past Infection

While it was not clear whether Dawkins was feeling any symptoms with his latest infection, the Bills lineman has been open about his difficult bout with COVID-19 over the summer. Even though he had gotten his first vaccination shot, Dawkins was not fully vaccinated when he became infected and was hit so hard that he had to be hospitalized.

“Honestly, it was one of the lowest points that I have ever been,” he said. “It hit every part of me. … Honestly, if there’s a checklist for [symptoms], it was everything. It was shortness of breath, it was the hot and cold, it was the cough, it was everything. … I don’t want to scare anybody, but there were moments where I was like ‘I don’t know if I’m going to make [it].’”

Dawkins also spoke out about vaccinations after his hospitalization, saying that he was glad to have gotten his shot and felt a heightened responsibility since his 6-month-old son was born premature.

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