The Miami Dolphins will be without five assistant coaches in Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals due to COVID-19 protocols, the team announced.
One Dolphins assistant coach, who was not identified, tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. He was placed in quarantine, and the team entered the NFL’s intensive protocol and began contact tracing to determine whether there any players or coaches had consistent close contact with that coach.
The five coaches who will be out Sunday are defensive backs coach Gerald Alexander, quarterbacks coach Robby Brown, outside linebackers coach Austin Clark, defensive line coach Marion Hobby and quality control coach Kolby Smith.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was confident that they had the virus contained and that they could travel to Arizona without significant worry of an outbreak. He also noted that they practiced situations in training camp of how they would react if coaches were unavailable thanks to COVID-19 protocols.
“We wouldn’t fly if we felt like there was any situation where we would create any outbreak,” Flores said. “If we do fly, it’s because we feel like we’ve got it contained, and that’s kind of the feeling now.”
The Dolphins switched their Friday practice to a walk-through after the news, moved their meetings virtually via Zoom and mandated that everyone wear their mask during in-person interactions.
This is the Dolphins’ first positive COVID-19 test during the regular season from a player or coach, and it’s part of what has been a rising number of players being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list across the league over the past couple of weeks.
Dolphins receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. was also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday, but a league source told ESPN that his situation was unrelated to the assistant coach who tested positive.
“We’re in a pandemic,” Flores said. “We’re all affected by it in some form or fashion. We’re being affected by it right now. There are other cases across the league. The protocols that are in place by the league give us the best chance to play and to contain the virus or the infected person as best we can.
“We’re going to follow those protocols, continue to have open and honest conversation with the league. We can try to do everything right, and you can still be positive. That’s happened across the country and definitely across the league. We’ll just try to do the best to contain it. It’s no one’s fault. As long as we were sincerely trying to do our best to wear a mask, distance and make smart decisions.”