Sources: All 3 Broncos QBs can’t play vs. Saints

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In the on-field scenario many in the league feared the most with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Denver Broncos plan to play the New Orleans Saints on Sunday with no available quarterbacks for the game.

The Broncos’ three eligible quarterbacks — Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles — were each deemed to be a “high-risk” close contact to quarterback Jeff Driskel and none of the three can be in uniform for Sunday’s game, sources told ESPN.

Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and was moved to the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list later that day.

The Broncos will not be forfeiting Sunday’s game, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Lock, Rypien and Bortles, who is on the practice squad, were pulled off the field early in Saturday’s practice and told to isolate at home after contract tracing concerns had arisen, sources told ESPN. The three were discovered to have not worn masks at one point during contact with Driskel, team sources told ESPN, but it was unclear if that occurred during practice or a meeting.

Lock, Rypien, Bortles and Driskel are usually closest to each other when the players stretch to open practices each day — they are all next to each other in the front row at that time — and the Broncos have conducted some socially distant position group meetings at their facility.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio has previously said running back Royce Freeman is the team’s emergency quarterback.

The Broncos also have wide receiver Kendall Hinton on their practice squad. He was a quarterback during his first three seasons at Wake Forest.

Receiver Jerry Jeudy took to Twitter to try to make light of the situation.

It all came on fast for the Broncos, who had been given clearance by the NFL to practice Saturday. They opened the workout, which began about 1 p.m. Mountain time, with the plan of all three of the quarterbacks participating.

On Saturday, Fangio said the quarterbacks are more than six feet apart from each other during meetings and that “all our meetings are set up to where everybody’s spread out.”

Fangio said the NFL had cleared the Broncos to practice both Thursday and Friday after positive tests by Driskel and wide receiver Diontae Spencer. Fangio, however, elected to cancel Friday’s practice and all other on-site activities.

Thursday was the third time the Broncos have canceled practices and other on-site activities at their facility this season.

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