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Eagles Name Emergency Head Coach After Nick Sirianni Tests Positive


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Eagles Name Emergency Head Coach After Nick Sirianni Tests Positive

  • Updated Dec 22, 2021 at 4:15pm
Nick Sirianni

Getty:  Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni tested positive for COVID-19 on December 22, 2021 and his status for Week 16 is in jeopardy.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni is questionable for Week 16 after testing positive for COVID-19. He underwent rapid testing after feeling coronavirus symptoms and now sits in the league’s health and safety protocols.

Sirianni is holed up in a hotel away from his family and the team as he recovers. The 40-year-old is relying on his assistant coaches and veteran leaders to run practice in his absence. Sirianni expressed optimism that he’ll be cleared in time for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

If he can’t go, then the head-coaching duties would fall on Eagles passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo. He would oversee all in-game decisions like whether to go for it on fourth down and calling the coin toss. Assistant head coach and running backs coach Jemal Singleton will help out as lead adviser.

"Kevin Patullo will do all the [decision-making], whether we’re going for it on fourth down, different situations like that, the coin toss, this and that,” Sirianni told reporters. "The reason that I went with Kevin there – Jemal Singleton will help with things as well – the reason Kevin will be in charge there is because Kevin doesn’t have a position to coach. I want as little change as possible.”

Sirianni added that offensive coordinator Shane Steichen would serve as lead play-caller. Steichen and Sirianni split that responsibility on a normal gameday, plus Steichen is the one who communicates directly with Jalen Hurts on the headset.

Sirianni Woke Up Sick, Took COVID-19 Test

Sirianni explained the circumstances leading up to his positive COVID-19 test by saying he woke up not feeling great. He opted to get tested and immediately entered the protocols upon learning of a positive result. Since he cannot be around the team while sick, Sirianni promised to be in every meeting room, via Zoom call. He called it "business as usual” despite the virtual nature.

"I wasn’t feeling great this morning when I woke up and just got tested and obviously we are where we are right now,” Sirianni said. "I’m feeling a little bit better now which is good. And then the rest of the week I’ll be in every meeting – obviously virtually – every single meeting, every quarterback meeting, every offensive meeting, every team meeting, and I’ll be running those and, yeah, just business as usual.”



Interesting note: Sirianni went out of his way to cover his nose and mouth on Tuesday night before giving Washington head coach Ron Rivera a post-game fist bump. Of course, Sirianni wasn’t covered when he ripped into Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts on the sideline.

Eagle Bracing for COVID-19 Outbreak?

Could a COVID-19 outbreak been on the horizon? Sirianni is now the third member of the Eagles’ organization to test positive this week, following left guard Landon Dickerson and left tackle Andre Dillard. The team has been adhering to stricter social distancing policies and enforced mask-wearing inside the facility ever since the rise of the Omicron variant.

Sirianni didn’t want to speculate on whether an outbreak could be looming. He is trusting the NFL’s updated policies to curb an infectious tide, as well as the Eagles’ own stringent rules.

"I’m very confident in what we did getting ahead of this last week,” Sirianni said, "and the last couple weeks of being separated and putting ourselves almost in protocol as it was, just with the extra precautions we took. And so, yeah, we’ll what the numbers say.”

NFL Recently Updated Testing Protocols

The NFL recently updated the process for when a player or coach can return to the locker room. Previously, vaccinated people could return once they turned in back-to-back negative tests with at least 24 hours in between them. Unvaccinated people had to sit out for 10 days regardless of showing symptoms or not. According to ESPN, the new protocol doesn’t require a negative test.

"There are now a series of new combinations of single negative tests and cycle threshold (CT) readings that can in theory have a player back as soon as one day after a positive test,” wrote Kevin Seifert. "One day is a stretch, unless it is an asymptomatic test caught near the end of infection.”


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