November 15th, 2020 at 11:46am CST by Sam Robinson
Nov. 15: Luckily for Norman, he is asymptomatic, as Ed Werder of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Norman understands that he cannot play today due to league protocols, but he says he feels well enough to do so. The team hopes to have him back shortly.
Nov. 14: The Bills have run into a COVID-19 issue ahead of their trip to Arizona. Josh Norman tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the team, and this will result in at least four Bills not traveling for their Week 10 game.
Norman, cornerback Levi Wallace, safety Dean Marlowe and tight end Tyler Kroft landed on Buffalo’s reserve/COVID-19 list. The latter three players — deemed as high-risk close contacts — must isolate for five days.
As of now, Sunday’s Bills-Cardinals game remains on as scheduled. The team is set to travel to Arizona later this afternoon. Defensive assistant Leonard Johnson will join the aforementioned quartet of players in not making the trip to the desert.
This is not the first time Saturday news of a Bills positive test emerged to weaken one of their position groups. Dawson Knoxtested positive for COVID-19 late last month, and the Bills placed two other tight ends on their COVID list that day. The NFL did not adjust the game time of the Bills’ rematch with the Jets. The league has not changed a game time because of COVID-19 since Week 7. With virus numbers skyrocketing around the country, similar challenges to the one that prompted the NFL to move a Bills-Titans game to a Tuesday night appear on the horizon.
Norman signed a one-year, $6MM deal with the Bills — one of several ex-Panthers to rejoin Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane in Buffalo this offseason — but began the season on IR. He returned for three games but has missed the past three due to a hamstring injury. He had practiced all week and was expected to return against Arizona, however. The Bills also recalled Wallace from IR earlier this season.
The Bills have run into COVID-19 trouble. They are placing Dawson Knox on their reserve/COVID-19 list. The second-year tight end tested positive for the coronavirus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Bills confirmed the positive test.
Fellow Buffalo tight ends Tommy Sweeney, Lee Smith and Nate Becker (practice squad) have been identified as close contacts and will also miss Sunday’s game against the Jets. Sweeney was already on Buffalo’s PUP list.
This game becomes the latest to monitor as one that could cause a schedule change. The timing is similar to Cam Newton‘s positive test weeks ago, and with the league’s beefed-up protocols in the wake of Newton’s positive and the Titans’ outbreak, the Bills will be extremely shorthanded at tight end. A rookie UDFA, Gilliam was already on Buffalo’s active roster along with Knox, Smith and Kroft. The Bills have Kroft and Gilliam available at the position ahead of Sunday’s Jets rematch. The latter has yet to play in a game.
Kroft’s wife going into labor and delivering the couple’s baby Friday morning led to the veteran tight end being spared from this chain reaction, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Kroft attended Bills practice Friday, but Schefter notes his missing position meetings allowed him to avoid getting caught up in this potential outbreak. A former Bengals draftee, Kroft signed with the Bills last year. Knox and Kroft each have six catches this season — most among Bills tight ends; the latter has scored two touchdowns.
The Bills signed Roberts to a two-year deal in 2019, doing so after he earned All-Pro recognition for his kick-return work on the 2018 Jets. Roberts has 10 years’ experience and two Pro Bowls on his resume. The second of those two Pro Bowl nods came last season with the Bills. Buffalo enters the season with its best chance to win the AFC East in maybe 20 years, so cutting an accomplished player is certainly surprising.
Foster made a splash as a rookie in 2018, but the Bills have overhauled their receiver group since. John Brown and Cole Beasley led the way last year, and the team traded for Stefon Diggs and drafted two wideouts — fourth-rounder Gabriel Davis and sixth-rounder Isaiah Hodgins — this year. Foster will nonetheless be an interest name on waivers.
Buffalo traded for Andre Smith earlier this week. The third-year linebacker could well be brought back on the team’s 16-player practice squad. Teams can begin assembling their P-squads Sunday.