We know that the NFL’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is rising. Still, one of the game’s biggest names has revealed that he contracted COVID-19 shortly after the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl LV championship boat parade in February. The future Hall of Fame quarterback then shared a caution message for teams around the league dealing with the virus.

The Dallas Cowboys announced that All-Pro guard Zack Martin has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play against the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night. The team placed Martin on the reserve/COVID-19 list shortly after that. Third-year talent Connor McGovern, who filled in for Martin when he missed time with a concussion and calf injury last season, will start in the multi-time Pro Bowler’s place. Backup G Brandon Knight was also added to the COVID-19 list.

The Cowboys had a rough go of it over the past couple of seasons, and this latest setback – a brief one – couldn’t have come at a worse time. The team had already been dealing with a challenging task of containing the Bucs’ defensive line, and Sunday’s news of a COVID list designation for one of the team’s best blockers put the task at a whole new level of difficulty.

The Dallas Cowboys are the defending champions of the NFC East, but they’re facing many injuries. Dak Prescott is returning from an ankle injury, and Ezekiel Elliott is looking to have a bounce-back year. With Martin sidelined, La’el Collins coming back from a neck injury, and veteran Tyron Smith will be leaned on heavily to provide stability. Smith played in two games before previous the remainder of the season to undergo neck surgery.

Featured Photo by Adrian Curiel from Unsplash