Saints QB Winston out after going on COVID list

  • Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
  • Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints placed backup quarterback Jameis Winston on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday morning, meaning he won’t be available for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Saints now have just two quarterbacks on their active roster — starter Drew Brees and backup Taysom Hill — after they released veteran Trevor Siemian on Saturday. That means Hill’s typical role as a runner and receiver on offense could be limited.

The plan was for Winston to serve as Brees’ backup so that Hill could be featured in other roles.

The Saints did not specify whether Winston tested positive for COVID-19 or whether any last-minute tests were required based on contact tracing. Teams are not required to disclose whether players test positive or whether they were found to be at-risk because of exposure or other reasons.

Fortunately for New Orleans, Brees was just activated from injured reserve this week after missing the past four games because of 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung. ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that the Saints felt confident that Brees would be able to start this week after a positive workout with trainers on Monday — and that he continued to look good throughout the week.

Earlier this season, Saints coach Sean Payton declined to reveal who would serve as the team’s emergency quarterback if needed. One likely candidate is running back Alvin Kamara, who has already lined up at QB in some Wildcat packages this season and is 1-of-1 passing for his career for 13 yards.

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