Carson Wentz, Ryan Kelly, Zach Pascal Placed on COVID-19 Reserve List by Colts

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2021

WESTFIELD, IN - AUGUST 24: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) runs through a drill during the Indianapolis Colts training camp practice on August 24, 2021 at Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts announced Monday quarterback Carson Wentz, center Ryan Kelly and receiver Zach Pascal have all been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Guard Quenton Nelson had previously been on the COVID-19 list but was activated Monday. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the players are a close contact of a staff member who tested positive and can be back in five days "as long as they remain negative and asymptomatic.

Wentz notably declined to answer whether he had been vaccinated earlier during training camp.

"It’s a personal decision," the quarterback said in July.

The Colts are set to open the regular season on Sept. 12 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Wentz was trending toward a potential Week 1 return after missing time recovering from his foot surgery. He was set to return to full-team practice for the first time Monday before the latest setback.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially damaging for the Colts with four other players placed on the reserve list in July.

The Colts have had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the NFL, with head coach Frank Reich saying last week the team was at "75-ish percent."

The coach discussed the organizational strategy earlier this month:

"It is a real issue and that’s why we’re working at it. I think our guys are taking it serious. I think we’re continuing to make progress as a club, we’re continuing to tell the players what we believe. We believe it’s best to get vaccinated. We believe that that’s the best thing. We understand it’s a personal decision and so we’ll respect that."

With the regular season approaching, the impact of positive tests could be significant.

Wentz is expected to be the Colts' starting quarterback when healthy after the squad acquired him in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in the offseason. There are high expectations as he teams up with Reich, who was his offensive coordinator during his lone Pro Bowl appearance in 2017.

Losing Kelly for any amount of time would also be significant after the center earned a Pro Bowl selection in each of the past two years. 

Pascal finished with at least 40 catches for 600 yards and five touchdowns in each of the past two years and could be set for a bigger role with T.Y. Hilton already out with a neck injury.