According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the slot receiver has tested positive for COVID-19 and his Week 1 status could be in doubt.
ESPN reporter Rich Cimini also weighed in, confirming the news and adding that his vaccination status and the date of the positive test could both be determining factors in whether or not Crowder can return in time.
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NFL Positive COVID Test Rules
There are very specific rules for when a player may return, following a positive COVID-19 test, to which I will quote Kevin Patra of NFL.com.
“According to [the July 22] memo, vaccinated players or staff who test positive and are asymptomatic can return to duty after two negative tests 24 hours apart. For non-vaccinated persons who test positive, the 2020 protocols remain in place, requiring a 10-day isolation.”
That begs the question, is Crowder vaccinated? Head coach Robert Saleh announced that the Jets were 90% vaccinated on July 28, a number that has surely risen since then. That signified 81 out of 90 players at the time.
Still, we have no clue if the slot receiver was one of the few Gang Green players that were in the minority. The theory is that he might have already been ruled out for Week 1 if he was indeed unvaccinated, but that all depends on when he tested positive.
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One Setback After the Next
You have to wonder when the test occurred and how ‘hush-hush’ the Jets have been about it, being that Saleh and Joe Douglas claimed Crowder missed practice with a groin injury on September 1.
The Jets HC had originally labeled him as “day-to-day,” adding that there was not much concern for Week 1 during a press conference on September 2. Douglas also referred to the absence as a “minor tweak of his groin,” so if they were covering for a positive test, they definitely kept their story straight.
Either way, it seems to be one setback after the next for Crowder, a player who dealt with contract negotiations and trade speculation early on this summer — which seemed to slow his chemistry with quarterback Zach Wilson.
With Elijah Moore taking the field in a game for the first time after a quad injury sidelined him for the entire preseason, the Jets could certainly use Crowder for backup. Wide receiver Denzel Mims has also missed time with a hip injury, leaving his Week 1 status in doubt.
The reliable slot target had been Sam Darnold’s favorite weapon the past two seasons, with a team-leading 78 receptions in 2019 and 59 catches in 2020. Ironically, his ex-QB will be playing for the opposite team if Crowder’s able to return from this COVID designation in time to take the field on September 12.