Cowboys Coach, Starter Leave Stadium Before Preseason Game

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn

Getty Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and starting defensive lineman Carlos Watkins were forced to depart AT&T Stadium prior to Saturday’s night preseason game against the Houston Texans due to COVID-19 protocols.

The team released an official statement on the situation via Twitter.

“Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn and Defensive Tackle Carlos Watkins will not participate in tonight’s game,” the statement reads. “Both men left the stadium earlier today out of an abundance of caution under the guidelines of the NFL’s COVID-related protocols.

“Quinn and Watkins will be reevaluated by the Cowboys medical staff tomorrow.

“To date, the vaccination rate for the Dallas player roster is 93%, while 100% of the team’s football staff is fully vaccinated.”

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More Information Emerges

News of Quinn and Watkins’ departure broke early on amid Dallas’ regular-season dress rehearsal, which meant little information as to whether they contracted the virus or merely were exposed to it. That is, until the Dallas Morning NewsDavid Moore got the scoop.

“A little more info on Dan Quinn & Carlos Watkins. Neither man felt good after arriving at AT&T Stadium & we’re sent home. It’s unclear if they were given a rapid COVID test at the stadium or simply told to leave to avoid any potential issues,” Moore tweeted.

He added: “One more note. Based on the percentage of vaccinated players on the roster in the Cowboys release, it means 6 players on the current roster aren’t vaccinated.”

Cowboys secondary coach/defensive pass game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. replaced Quinn as the play-caller stationed up in the booth for the club’s third exhibition contest. Watkins, starting in place of an injured Neville Gallimore (elbow), was spelled by Brent Urban.

“Joe Whitt is calling a nice game on defense for the Cowboys in place of Dan Quinn,” observed Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Jones Boasted About Cowboys’ Vaccination Rate

It wasn’t that long ago — one month ago exactly — that Dallas owner/general manager Jerry Jones bragged about his organization’s effort to topple the coronavirus. A refresher:

“It was a many-faceted effort,” Jones said on July 21, via USA TODAY. “From the standpoint of the players, from what I call ‘in the pipeline’ that is committed at some various stage of whether they need two vaccine shots and they’ve got one, or they’re waiting a period of time to have the vaccine and go through the protocol.

“We have a handful that in my mind that have still to commit to this. A handful and a hand is five. That’s iffy that in my mind. Several of that hand of five are on the way to potentially having their vaccine.

“We’re very satisfied with where the Dallas Cowboys are as far as looking at our competition.”

READ NEXT: Cowboys Address Trade Rumor Involving Offensive ‘Starter’

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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