INDIANAPOLIS – Even Carson Wentz couldn’t keep dodging what has hit so many of his other unvaccinated teammates.
Wentz went on the COVID-19 list Tuesday bringing his availability into serious question for the final two games of the regular season.
A reminder that entering Tuesday any unvaccinated player who tests positive for COVID-19 must miss 10-to-14 days, per NFL protocols.
It is believed that Wentz tested positive for COVID-19. Where the Colts have caught a major break in this was on Tuesday the NFL made a decision to shorten that timeframe, with the CDC suggesting a new 5-day isolation period, down from 10 days, for asymptomatic individuals.
So the return date for Wentz could be in time for Sunday’s game. It will all depend on if he’s symptomatic or not.
Earlier this season, this was Wentz’s stance on deciding to remain unvaccinated:
“It’s a personal decision for me and my family,” the 28-year-old Wentz said. “I respect everyone else’s decision, and I ask that everybody else does the same for me.
“I’ve weighed a lot of things. I’ve factored in everything. I know what’s at stake. I know all of those things. The protocols are in place, so we’ve got to honor them as best we can so we can avoid what happened.”
“It’s been a fluid process for me the whole time. As a family, we’ve been monitoring everything we can, letting it play out as long as we can. This is where we’re at today. Things can change in the next coming weeks. Who knows where this world is going. Who knows where these protocols are going. I’m not going to act like I’m an expert on a vaccine or a virus or anything.”
Without Wentz, Sam Ehlinger is the only Colts QB who is currently on the active roster. Ehlinger has played 18 snaps in his rookie season, but has yet to attempt a pass.
For now, Ehlinger is QB1 for the Colts.
On Tuesday, prior to this Wentz news, offensive coordinator Marcus Brady was asked about having a plan in place for Ehlinger in case he would be needed to start.
“We always think about that,” Brady said. “You always have a plan, just like every other position, but especially the backup quarterback position. Going through the plan, (Ehlinger) goes through it, what are your top calls that you feel comfortable with, it doesn’t have to be all of them. We have that separate call sheet for him ready to go. He goes through all the reads just like Carson does. He may not get the live rep, but he’ll get it on the side. He’s ready to go.”
Such a plan would have some tweaks, given Ehlinger’s skillset compared to Wentz.
“It’s a little bit different,” the OC said. “(Ehlinger) doesn’t have as big of an arm as Carson. He’s going to run around a little bit more than Carson. But we will adjust to that and our offense is set up to be able to adapt to that.”
Brett Hundley (9 career starts) and James Morgan (0 career snaps) are two other quarterbacks on the practice squad. Hundley was the backup to Wentz for a few games earlier this season, but did not see any action.
On Monday, Frank Reich said the Colts have not reached out to the recently retired Philip Rivers, if something like this would arise.
“No, right now we’re just in the situation that we’re in,” Reich said on Monday when asked directly about Rivers. “We’re happy with the guys that we’ve got here. Just continue to monitor that day-by-day.”
Where Rivers is at playing shape wise is an obvious question, a statue like him playing behind an offensive line possibly without 3 starters on Sunday is another factor that must be weighed.
While the Colts (9-6) could still get into the playoffs without another win, it is likely they’ll need one more to secure a spot.
A win on Sunday would clinch a berth.
To get that though, they could have to do it without their franchise quarterback, with the biggest pre-season worry finally hitting Wentz.