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COVID-19 Strikes Miami Dolphins As They Make Roster Moves

Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

After striking their next-door neighbor Miami Marlins in the morning, COVID-19 has begun to impact the Miami Dolphins as they begin training camp.

The Dolphins announced Monday that three members of the team — long snapper Blake Ferguson, defensive tackle Benito Jones and cornerback Cordea Tankersley — have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The news comes after Dolphins rookies, quarterbacks and injured players began to report to team facilities for training camp on Monday.

Being placed on the list means two things: either the player has tested positive for COVID-19 or he’s been quarantined after having been in close contact with people that have. Per the NFL-NFLPA policy, teams are not allowed to disclose for which reason a player is added to the list.

While in the reserve, a team is allowed to promote a practice squad player to fill the roster spot and can return that player to the practice squad without waivers. Players may be activated from the list when they are healthy.

Players will have to bring back two negative COVID-19 tests before being allowed to return. If a player tests positive, he can return at least 72 hours after symptoms have passed or at least 10 days after symptoms first appear, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Ferguson was drafted in the sixth-round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He played at LSU for four-years and was named a team captain as a senior en route to the College Football Playoff National Championship, Ferguson is the only long snapper on the team.

Jones was signed by Miami after unexpectedly going undrafted in 2020. A four-year letterman at Ole Miss, Jones recorded 66 solo tackles, 66 assisted tackles, and 31 tackles for loss. During his senior year, his stats peaked, recording 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, which was enough to name him to the All-SEC Second-Team.

At 6-foot-1, 316-pounds, Jones is a longshot to make the 53-man roster, but could very well land up on the practice squad, which was expanded from 10 to 16 players.

Tankersley, who was the Dolphins’ third-round pick in 2017, has played in just 18 games since 2017, due to a knee injury he suffered in 2018. He missed the entire 2019 season.

Miami also announced Monday that they’ve claimed former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Javaris Davis off of waivers and waived tight end Michael Roberts with a non-football injury designation Monday.

Roberts, a former fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, has been unable to overcome the injury bug throughout his career. He spent two years with the Detroit Lions, where he garnered 13 receptions for 146 yards (11.2 average) and three touchdowns in 23 games.

Roberts suffered a shoulder injury in December 2018 and was waived after not passing his physical as part of a trade with the New England Patriots. The 26-year-old underwent reconstruction surgery for his left shoulder in August 2019—the same shoulder that landed him on injured reserve in 2018.

Roberts signed with the Dolphins on February 9, 2020, but the recent acquisition of Chicago Bears tight end Adam Shaheen explains the move.

Davis who went undrafted out of Auburn in the 2020 NFL Draft, had been waived by the Chiefs with a nonfootball injury designation. The defensive He played in 49 games for Auburn, starting in 35 of them.

The 5-foot-8, 183-pound Davis intercepted two passes in each of his four seasons with the Tigers. He’ll join his former teammate Noah Igbinoghene in Miami’s secondary.

The roster stands at 80 players with the moves today, but will rise to 83 once Ferguson, Jones and Tankersley come off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Miami will have to trim their roster to 81 by August 16.

Teams could have up to 90 players in camp if they split practice sessions into two squads, which could require teams to use both stadium and regular practice facilities, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

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