Giants safety Logan Ryan went on the COVID-19 reserve list Friday after testing positive for the virus and likely is out for Monday night’s game at Tampa at least.
Ryan’s absence could be devastating. The defensive captain leads the team with 72 tackles, and future Hall of Fame Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is poised to work the middle of the field that Ryan normally would patrol.
Third-year pro Julian Love is expected to step into the starting lineup if Ryan can’t go.
“I talk to Logan a lot. I talked to him this morning,” Love said after practice. “From a leadership perspective, it’s tough. He’s kind of the vet, the experienced guy in our secondary right now. Obviously we want him out there with us.”
Ryan, 30, who is vaccinated, was deemed a close contact to a positive individual outside the facility this week. He tested negative for the virus as recently as Thursday morning, but then he tested positive twice on Mesa (rapid) tests Friday morning.
He was awaiting the result of a PCR test to confirm the positive on Friday night or early Saturday morning.
The veteran safety is believed to be asymptomatic, which is a good sign. But Ryan would need to remain asymptomatic and receive two consecutive negative PCR tests 24 hours apart in order to be cleared to play on Monday Night Football.
And if he’s positive for the virus, he won’t test negative anytime soon.
Ryan’s status for the Giants’ Nov. 28 home game against the Philadelphia Eagles could be in jeopardy, too, but it’s too early to tell.
“There’s a risk of that,” coach Joe Judge said. “We’ve got to wait on a couple things to come back. Nothing’s officially ruled out at this point beyond where we are right now.”
Ryan could clear the protocol in the first six days after his positive test with two negative PCRs 24 hours apart. He also could clear it during days 7-to-10 after his positive with one negative PCR and a negative Mesa (rapid) test 24 hours apart.
But if he can’t test negative, he’d have to wait a minimum of 10 days from the first positive before a club physician could approve his return. And only nine days will have passed by that Sunday Week 12 Eagles game.
“He said he feels fine,” Love said of Ryan. “He’s got all his extra workouts in and all that stuff. He’s been doing his normal routine, hasn’t felt too phased this week.”
Several members of the Giants’ secondary are unvaccinated, including safety Xavier McKinney and corners Adoree Jackson and Aaron Robinson. So the Giants took immediate precautions on Friday to avoid high-risk close contacts to Ryan that could jeopardize those players’ statuses, too.
“Out of precaution for all those players that are unvaccinated, we had a lot of them Zoom in today to thin out the rooms and make sure that they weren’t exposed to being close contacts or to being in that situation,” Judge said.
The good news is that the Giants did not expect any issues to arise with their unvaccinated players in connection to Ryan’s positive as of late Friday evening, according to a source.
Any unvaccinated player deemed a high-risk close contact to a positive individual would have to sit out a minimum of five days, even if he tested negative himself. Unvaccinated players are tested daily.
Vaccinated players like Ryan only are required to test for COVID-19 once a week. So Ryan tested negative on Monday, as usual. But his close contact status increased his testing frequency and revealed the positive on Friday.
Nothing had tipped off Ryan’s situation on Thursday. While the Giants had him participate virtually in meetings that day, he practiced and oddly still did an outdoor podium interview with the New York media, including at least one side interview with a reporter.
Now the Giants (3-6) likely won’t have their defensive leader as they try to take down the Bucs (6-3) on the road.
Ryan had been excited to face Tom Brady, a former New England Patriots teammate whom he enjoys needling.
Ryan intercepted Brady’s final pass as a Patriot, a pick-six to seal a 20-13 Wild Card playoff win for Ryan’s Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 4, 2020.
And he said their battles go back all the way to Ryan’s rookie OTAs with the Patriots as Brady’s 2013 teammate. A receiver slipped and Ryan intercepted Brady and returned it for a TD during a May practice.
“And he takes his helmet off and breaks it on the ground in OTAs,” Ryan said with a smile. “He wanted to win every one-on-one.”
The Giants have proven recently that they can win games even when COVID-19 screws with their health and schedule.
They beat the Las Vegas Raiders, 23-16, in their last game before the bye, despite 13 positive test results during the week, all but two of them false positives.
Running backs coach Burton Burns and rookie back Gary Brightwell were confirmed positives and missed that game. Both are back in the building and practicing with the team.
Both the country and the NFL have seen spikes in positive COVID-19 cases recently, which led the league to issue updated enhanced protocols for players and staff around the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Giants weren’t even the NFC East team hit hardest by the virus on Friday. Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper tested positive and was confirmed as unvaccinated, knocking him out of Dallas’ next two games: Sunday at Kansas City and Thanksgiving Day against the Raiders.
BARKLEY STILL LIMITED
The Giants’ and Bucs’ injury reports remained largely unchanged outside of tight end Kaden Smith (knee) being upgraded to limited. Running backs Saquon Barkley (ankle) and Devontae Booker (hip), and fullback Cullen Gillaspia (calf) remained limited. Barkley, in his first interview since Oct. 14, said “I feel good” but only that he was “hopeful” to get the opportunity to play.
Wideout Sterling Shepard (quad), tight end Kaden Smith (knee), edge Lorenzo Carter (illness/ankle) and special teamer Nate Ebner (knee) did not practice. Left tackle Andrew Thomas (ankle/foot) continued practicing but isn’t on the active roster yet. Brady received a rest day for the Bucs, while Gronkowski (back) remained a full participant and wideout Antonio Brown (ankle) and nose tackle Vita Vea (knee) didn’t practice.
Source: Berkshire mont