FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have added two new names to their COVID-19 protocol.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy announced Wednesday morning that Damontae Kazee and Connor Williams have been added to the team's exempt list, bringing the total to six players this week.
"We're in the contact tracing mode, and we're working through that," McCarthy said. "But like anything that's been part of this process, we take it very seriously. We're looking at all of our operations and schedules and making sure our meeting places are the best they can be."
The Cowboys have moved to a more virtual-focused schedule as a result of the outbreak, and that will continue as they seek to get the issue under control.
It's an unsettling reminder that the world is still grappling with a global pandemic. The Cowboys had worked through the first three weeks of training camp without so much as a blip on the COVID radar. Then, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Carlos Watkins were sent home before Saturday's preseason game against Houston.
Since then, five new players have been added to the list – Malik Hooker, CeeDee Lamb and Israel Mukuamu earlier this week, and Kazee and Williams on Wednesday morning. On the bright side, Mukuamu exited the protocol and returned to practice on Wednesday, but it's still as large of an outbreak as the Cowboys have had to deal with dating back to 2020.
Trevon Diggs is also currently absent with an illness, though it's not COVID-related. Donovan Wilson, who exited practice Tuesday, is dealing with a groin injury.
Naturally, the number of absences in the secondary is going to create a challenge as the Cowboys work toward their preseason finale.
It's a good guess that guys like Jayron Kearse, Darian Thompson, Steven Parker and Tyler Coyle will see plenty of reps as the Cowboys seek to get their numbers back.