Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not attend Thursday night’s game in New Orleans.
McCarthy’s scheduled news conference was canceled Monday morning minutes before it was supposed to begin.
McCarthy, who is vaccinated along with the entire staff, said he had a “scratchy” throat but mostly felt fine. He told players about the positive test during a virtual meeting Monday morning.
“Just stressed again, no different than I normally do, just stressed it from a personal perspective that this is real,” said McCarthy, who said family members had tested positive as well. “I’d like to think that I was super cautious. I just think it shows you the danger of the pandemic and the virus.”
The team is conducting meetings virtually while holding in-person practices. McCarthy said Tuesday’s activities also would be virtual, but he wasn’t sure about Wednesday. The team normally conducts a walkthrough-type practice the day before a game, also a travel day for road games.
It’s not clear who will be coaching on the sideline when the Cowboys travel to New Orleans for Thursday night’s game.
The Cowboys are dealing with an outbreak of cases.
Right tackle Terence Steele won’t play against the Saints after testing positive for COVID-19. Offensive line coach Joe Philbin and his assistant, Jeff Blasko, are out along with offensive assistant Scott Tolzien.
Two members of the strength and conditioning staff won’t make the trip: coordinator Harold Nash Jr. and assistant Kendall Smith. Another assistant in protocols, Cedric Smith, is expected to be cleared to return.
“Going through it last year and not really knowing, I definitely felt there was times that it affected the energy of our team,” McCarthy said. “But that’s something we’ll frankly talk about and acknowledge, and at the end of the day we’re going to have 48 guys with that star on their helmet and it will be their responsibility with all the support in the world to go out there and win that game Thursday night.”
The good news is that wide receiver Amari Cooper who missed the past two Dallas losses while on the COVID-19 list will rejoin the team this week and has been cleared to play against the Saints.
The Saints are 5-6 on the season and have lost four in a row. But New Orleans will be playing at home so the Cowboys will most likely have another battle ahead of them.
The Thursday Nigh Football game starts at 7 p.m. on FOX 4.
Written by Dan Godwin