The Dallas Cowboys will be without linebacker Keanu Neal for Monday's NFC East matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. Head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Saturday that Neal has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be suiting up for this Week 3 matchup. The 26-year-old's status was already in question heading into this game since he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday for being a close contact. Now that he's tested positive, Dallas will be down one of its most athletic linebackers.
Neal landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list merely due to being a close contact points to him being unvaccinated -- otherwise he wouldn't have needed to go on the reserve list -- which possibly makes matters worse for the Cowboys going forward. Under this circumstance, Neal has to undergo a mandatory 10-day isolation period, which means he may also miss the team's Week 4 matchup against the Carolina Panthers. McCarthy said Saturday that Neal hasn't officially been ruled out for Week 4 just yet.
The veteran -- who signed with the team back in April -- has played 74% of the Cowboys' defensive snaps to begin this season and has totaled nine tackles (one tackle for a loss).
With Neal sidelined, it will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Dan Quinn deploys this unit. Neal could have been an ideal fit to serve as a spy against Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Now that he'll miss this game, it'll be curious to see if the team moves rookie Micah Parsons back to his traditional linebacker role after playing defensive end in Week 2, especially with Randy Gregory coming back from his stay on the COVID-19 list.
While Dallas is seeing some subtractions to its roster due to COVID-19, the Eagles activated tight end Zach Ertz on Saturday after he tested positive earlier this week. He's eligible to play Monday night.
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