Matthew Stafford did not test positive for COVID-19 after all.
The Detroit Lions announced Tuesday that the starting quarterback had a false-positive test that forced him onto the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday. Detroit cornerback Justin Coleman, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, was also activated on Tuesday.
"Today we removed Matthew Stafford from the COVID-IR list and onto the active roster," the team said in a statement. "As a result of a false-positive test result, he was forced due to NFL/NFLPA protocols to sit out until he received two negative tests. His testing sequence for the pre-entry period was: negative, negative, false-positive. The next three tests were all negative. To be clear, Matthew does NOT have COVID-19 and never has had COVID-19 and the test in question was a False-Positive. Also, all of Matthew's family have been tested and everyone is negative."
Per the NFL protocols, players needed three negative tests to enter the facility for training camp. Stafford's false-positive came on his third test, according to the team, which would have been taken Friday.
He was placed on the COVID-19 list Saturday. It was not known at the time whether the 32-year-old had tested positive or had come in close contact with someone who had contracted the virus.
The good news for the Stafford family and the Lions is that the quarterback evidently never had COVID-19. The false-positive, however, is sure to offer more questions about how testing will be handled during the season, with the threat of a flawed test deep into a game-week threatening a player's ability to play Sunday.