2 Broncos Defenders Placed on Reserve List Ahead of Week 17

Mike Purcell

Getty Broncos defensive lineman Mike Purcell (98).

The Denver Broncos made several moves to their roster on December 27, including placing two players onto the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

This late in the season, every team is beaten up. Dealing with injuries is something that comes with the territory. However, in the new COVID-19 reality everyone now lives in, it’s another issue NFL teams must directly deal with.

Ahead of Week 17, the Broncos announced they’d placed DL Mike Purcell and LB Andre Mintze on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Purcell and Mintze join center Lloyd Cushenburry III who was placed on the list on December 23.

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Protocol Updates May Quicken Return Timeline for Purcell & Mintze

After a COVID-19 surge forced the NFL to reschedule a handful of games in Week 15, the league made updates to their COVID-19 protocols.

On December 12, the NFL released a memo, obtained by NFL Network, announcing several alterations to their health and safety protocols related to COVID-19, including how players test out of the protocols.

Now, fully vaccinated players can test out of protocols given they’re asymptomatic for at least 24 hours and pass one of three testing scenarios; two negative PCR tests, a combination of a negative PCR and Mesa test, or two negative Mesa tests.

The new protocols could allow both Purcell and Mintze to return as soon as mid-week for the Broncos, in plenty of time to suit up for Week 17.

Purcell was questionable heading into Week 16’s matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders but ended up playing; he assisted on three tackles while adding a fumble recovery. Purcell also missed time with a finger injury earlier this season, forcing him to sit out Week 8 and 9.

According to Pro Football Reference, Purcell spent his first three seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, playing in 25 games finishing with 29 tackles and a sack. He spent 2017 and 2018 on several practice squads before signing a one-year deal with the Broncos in April of 2019.

In his third season with the Broncos, Purcell has played 12 games, registering 16 tackles this year.

In October of 2020, Purcell signed a three-year contract with Denver worth $14.8 million via Spotrac.

Mintze, an undrafted rookie linebacker, hasn’t played for the Broncos since Week 6 after being placed on IR with a hamstring injury on October 18. He was activated from IR on December 22 but now finds himself in COVID-19 protocols.

Via Pro Football Reference, Mintze has played in five games this season for the Broncos, registering five tackles while playing more than half of his 84 total snaps on special teams (59).

Broncos Release Center From Practice Squad

Along with the additions of Purcell and Mintze to the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Broncos also released center Javon Patterson from the practice squad. He was signed to the practice squad on December 24 but released three days later on December 27.

Originally a seventh-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2019, Patterson has since bounced around a few NFL practice squads, including time with the Colts, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, and Broncos.

Patterson has appeared in just one NFL game, playing four special teams snaps for the Browns in 2020 via Pro Football Reference.

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