The Dallas Cowboys are expected to open the season at Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay without right guard Zack Martin after the four-time All-Pro tested positive for COVID-19.
It was a huge shot to the stomach when it was announced that the four-time All-Pro right guard was among the latest Dallas players to test positive. Asked if he would miss Thursday’s matchup with seven-time champion quarterback Tom Brady, coach Mike McCarthy said, “I would say so, yes.”
Martin, who is fully vaccinated, experienced flu-like symptoms and taste loss on Saturday.
Because of the return-to-play protocols, Martin will not be cleared in time to play. A fully vaccinated player can return to play in five days if he does not have symptoms following two negative tests separated by 24 hours. An unvaccinated player faces at least a 10-day quarantine.
“He’s frustrated obviously,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “But hey, this is the world we live in right now.”
“Zack’s our best player on our offense. I mean most runs, they coming back behind him,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “It’s disappointing but you can’t harp on it, can’t let it be more than what it is. I mean, definitely going to miss him, definitely wish he was out there, but we still have a game to go play and we got to try and get the job done.”
The Cowboys have had nine players on the COVID-19 list so far, which is more than they had all of last season.