Eagles Versatile Fill-In Starter Tests Positive for COVID-19

Marcus Epps

Getty Eagles safety Marcus Epps is a versatile fill-in starter and contributor on special teams.

The Eagles might be on bye this week but daily COVID-19 testing continued at the team’s practice facility. One player has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and he immediately went info self-isolation.

Starting safety Marcus Epps reportedly produced a positive test, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, but he is asymptomatic. The organization will now enter “intensive protocols” in accordance with NFL and NFLPA guidelines. Players had been in the building on Wednesday to review film and that’s when Epps tested positive. No other Eagles players’ results came back positive.

The Eagles confirmed the news in an official announcement on Twitter but withheld Epps’ name: “The Philadelphia Eagles received confirmation this morning that a player tested positive for COVID-19. The individual immediately went into self-isolation upon learning of his test result. We are following the NFL-NFLPA intensive protocols and remain in close communication with the league on this matter.”

UPDATE: The Eagles have officially placed Epps on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. They didn’t make any corresponding move. Epps remains in quarantine.

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Epps Started Two Games for Eagles

Epps had been a fill-in starter at strong safety after Jalen Mills moved over to cornerback with Avonte Maddox out. The two-year veteran rotated in there with rookie K’Von Wallace for two games.

Then, Will Parks returned from IR and eventually ate up his snaps in the Eagles’ big nickel packages. Epps has 19 total tackles and one pass deflection in seven contests this season. He missed the Week 6 loss to Baltimore due to a rib injury.

Epps, a sixth-round pick in 2019, was waived by the Vikings last November and Philly claimed the versatile safety. He quickly earned a reputation as a stellar contributor on special teams and saw action in seven games in 2019. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz called him a quick study.

“Came to us in the middle of the year last year,” Schwartz told reporters in September. “But with the whole gaining some experience last year and just adding another year in the same system, from the very first day of training camp not only has he improved mentally — and he’s been always good that way — but just understanding and the little intricacies.”

Eagles Players Off Rest of This Week

The positive test for Epps shouldn’t really interfere with the team’s preparations too much. Yes, they will have to lock down and sterilize the NovaCare Complex before letting the players back in but daily cleaning and testing were already happening. His teammates understand and have his back.

Remember, players weren’t going to be around the building (or each other) anyway. In fact, Doug Pederson went out of his way to talk about being smart in regard to the COVID-19 situation.

“We’re not game-planning this week, yet we can go back and watch us and see where we need to improve,” Pederson told reporters earlier this week, “and also show them the good that came out of the first eight weeks. I think it’s important that we do that, and obviously, if there is a positive with the COVID, it’s the fact that we get to stick together as a team.”

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