Saleh rejoins Jets after clearing COVID-19 protocols

Saleh sat out the team's 26-21 victory over Jacksonville last Sunday

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New York Jets coach Robert Saleh cleared COVID-19 protocols and returned to the facility Wednesday to run practice for the first time since testing positive for the coronavirus last week.

Saleh sat out the team's 26-21 victory over Jacksonville last Sunday, forced to watch from a hotel room while tight ends coach Ron Middleton assumed the head coaching duties.

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Saleh tested positive last Wednesday after feeling symptoms, but still participated in remote team meetings. He was cleared Tuesday night and thrilled to be back Wednesday at the team's facility in Florham Park, New Jersey.

"It's like the first day of school," Saleh said with a laugh. "I'm ready to go another 18 weeks."

The Jets had as many as 25 players — on the active and practice squad rosters, and injured reserve — on the COVID-19 list as of Tuesday, and got back nine after they also cleared COVID-19 protocols. The NFL reduced the isolation time for players who test positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, including unvaccinated players, to five days from 10.

The decision made Tuesday by the league and the NFL Players Association came after the CDC changed its guidelines for those who are asymptomatic, recommending a five-day isolation period and masking over the second five days.

The team announced backup quarterback Joe Flacco, tight end Kenny Yeboah, defensive linemen Folorunso Fatukasi, Jonathan Marshall and Tanzel Smart, linebackers Hamsah Nasirildeen and Noah Dawkins, and cornerbacks Michael Carter II and Lamar Jackson were expected to practice Wednesday. Smart, Dawkins and Jackson were restored to the practice squad.

Saleh added the Jets are hopeful wide receiver Vyncint Smith, guards Alijah Vera-Tucker and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, defensive linemen John Franklin-Myers and Hamilcar Rashed Jr., and safety Ashtyn Davis will clear COVID-19 protocols later in the week and be able to play against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

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Also:

—Buffalo also had a few key players activated from the COVID-19 list, including two of its top wide receivers in Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, right guard Jon Feliciano and defensive end A.J. Epenesa.

—Minnesota got back top running back Dalvin Cook and placed DE Patrick Jones II on the COVID-19 list.