Cowboys Announce Cornerback Tests Positive for COVID-19

Saivion Smith

Getty Saivion Smith

Cowboys cornerback Saivion Smith tested positive for the coronavirus Friday and was moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced.

Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reported Smith is asymptomatic and will not be allowed into the team facility for at least one week. Asymptomatic players must return two consecutive negative tests within a five-day period, or wait 10 days since the initial positive test, to gain re-entry.

Smith, 22, signed a one-year free-agent deal with Dallas on April 10. A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Smith began his collegiate career at LSU, making 10 appearances as a freshman. Following a JuCo stint with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, he transferred to Alabama.

He started 12 games for the Crimson Tide in 2018, notching a team-high three interceptions, five pass breakups, and a defensive touchdown, afterward opting to forego his senior campaign and enter the NFL draft.

Smith (6-1, 199, 33 1/4-inch arms) drew a fourth- to fifth-round grade from analyst Lance Zierlein, who likened him to ex-Panthers and Raiders CB Daryl Worley, who also joined the Cowboys this offseason.

“He’s athletic enough for man coverage, but his collection of strengths and weaknesses requires better technique and aggression from press to gain control of the rep,” Zierlein wrote. “Smith’s ceiling is NFL starter and his floor should be fourth cornerback.”

Despite the lofty projections, Smith went undrafted last year and was signed as a UDFA by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He made four exhibition appearances for the Jaguars but never saw a down of regular-season action.

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Cowboys Role, Future

The club remade its CB corps in 2020, replacing Byron Jones, who defected to the Miami Dolphins, with Smith, Worley, Maurice Canady and rookies Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson. They also re-signed Anthony Brown to a three-year contract.

While Dallas’ starters (Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie) and backups (Worley Diggs, Robinson) are pretty well entrenched, Smith could carve a role as a No. 5 or No. 6 option, depending on how many corners crack the 55-man regular-season squad.

But now he’s stuck behind the eight-ball. With the preseason eliminated, it was already difficult enough for bottom-of-the-roster types to stick; losing precious training camp time due to a non-football injury makes the hill that much more steep.

In a best-case scenario, Smith will get back into the swing of things ahead of the Cowboys’ first padded practice on Aug. 17. It should be noted, however, that his health — not his job — is of the ultimate importance as he battles the virus.

COVID Complications

Smith is the second Cowboys CB impacted by the pandemic. Earlier this week, Canady, who had signed a one-year deal in free agency, chose to opt out of the 2020 campaign under the league’s revised Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Smith, too, is the second Dallas player to land on the COVID-19 list, which was created to house those infected or those who came into close contact with an infected person. On July 27, one day before camp opened, rookie wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson was placed on the list.

In addition to Canady, undrafted rookie WR Stephen Guidy was a voluntary opt-out who will collect a $150,000 stipend while his contract tolls into 2021.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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