Quinn, Watkins Miss Preseason Game Out of ‘Abundance of Caution,' Due to COVID-19 Protocols

The Cowboys' COVID-19 vaccination rate among players is 93%, while all of Dallas' coaching staff is vaccinated.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins left AT&T Stadium Saturday before Dallas' preseason game against the Houston Texans "out of an abundance of caution under the guidelines of the NFL’s Covid related protocols," the team says.

Both men will be evaluated by medical staff on Sunday, the Cowboys said in a statement.

The Cowboys' COVID-19 vaccination rate among players is 93%, while all of Dallas' coaching staff is vaccinated.

It's the first virus-related development for Dallas since reporting to training camp in California last month. The Cowboys moved camp to their practice facility this past week.

The Cowboys hired Quinn, the former Atlanta coach, in the offseason after they gave up the most points in franchise history in their only season under Mike Nolan, who was hired after Mike McCarthy replaced Jason Garrett as coach.

The Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday became the first NFL team to reach a 100% vaccination rate among players.

Last month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to the 32 teams in the league warning that forfeited regular-season games could occur for a COVID-19 outbreak caused by nonvaccinated players.

Dawn Aponte, the league's chief football administrative officer, reiterated that games will not be postponed to avoid roster issues because of the flexibility built in: COVID-19 replacement players; expanded practice squads to 16 players; a three-week minimum stay on injured reserve instead of six weeks; no limit on activating players from IR.

That means 272 games on time within 18 weeks “safely and responsibly,” she said.

“Flexible and adaptable will continue to be key,” Aponte added, noting that Goodell's memo was vetted by people in a variety of NFL roles. “We are committed to playing a full season as scheduled. There is the no-play/no-pay provision (from 2020), which has been agreed to with the players' association and will carry into this season.”

“Health and science truly is what drives and guides these decisions," she added. “And I think we illustrated that last season and will continue to do so. I think we know a lot more this year ... the biggest difference is a vaccination is available.”

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