FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Like every team in the league, the Falcons are dealing with the holiday spike of COVID-19. The team announced on Wednesday that Jonathan Bullard, Jaylinn Hawkins, Hayden Hurst and practice-squad player Willie Beavers were all being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
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It remains uncertain at this time whether players on the reserve-COVID-19 list are able to play Sunday against the host Buffalo Bills.
The NFL issued new protocols on Tuesday that shorten the quarantine period down to five days for unvaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals, if certain criteria are met.
The Falcons are fully vaccinated -- they were the first team to reach that status -- and it remains possible these players could test out in time to play the Bills.
Fully vaccinated players can test out of the COVID-19 protocols starting 24 hours after a positive test. Per a Dec. 16 protocol on the matter -- rules that stand despite Tuesday's updates -- "any such fully vaccinated individual should be tested every day after the confirmed positive test. Any such fully vaccinated individual shall be released from quarantine, provided they are asymptomatic for at least 24 hours" and complete one of three testing options that produce negative results, an acceptable cycle threshold value or both.