Jaguars' Ryquell Armstead Says He Was Diagnosed with Myocarditis After COVID-19

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 23, 2021

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 29: Ryquell Armstead #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars catches a pass for a touchdown during the third quarter of a game against the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field on December 29, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
James Gilbert/Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Ryquell Armstead told reporters on Thursday he was diagnosed with myocarditis after a bout of COVID-19 that cost him the entirety of the 2020 season. 

"I don't really think about all that [I've been through]," he said. "It's the past. When that happened, it was time to work. It took me probably two, three months to get back to where I live, where I am today and how I'm feeling. I'm just moving forward. I don't dwell on the past; they're all memories. I treat life like chess. That was a pawn. That was just a piece of my story. God's got a greater story at the end."

Armstead had to be hospitalized twice with the coronavirus and suffered a number of complications, including respiratory issues and myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. 

The 25-year-old showed promise in his rookie season in 2019, rushing for 108 yards while adding 14 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and heading into 2020 had a shot to win the starting job after the departure of Leonard Fournette. But COVID-19 derailed those plans. 

Things took another turn this offseason when Urban Meyer and the Jags cut him. After spending time on the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints, and a stint with the Green Bay Packers on their practice squad, the Jaguars re-signed him on Wednesday. 

It's been quite the journey for Armstead, who has tried to keep a positive outlook on the situation:

"It was a blessing in disguise. I got to sit back and enjoy my family, enjoy my kids, just do what they want to do. Be a dad. Just not take anything for granted. I cherish every moment now, and when it was time for me to step up out of my comfort zone and get back to where I need to be, I took that step. I was outside every day working out at 6 in the morning. Whether or not I knew I was going to get picked up or not, I was out there working by myself.
"I had a goal. I had a vision. I had an endgame. And this was the endgame. I'm here. I'm back on a 53 [man] roster. I'm back active, and like I said I'm blessed. My mental is so strong that none of this fazed me. I just keep going."

One motivation to return to football was being able to tell his son he didn't give up on that dream.

"Being able to never tell my son, 'Well, I had a heart injury and I never came back and tried,'" he told reporters. "That was my inspiration right there, to be able to one day tell my son that you can overcome anything in life itself. I'm living proof."

Armstead is expected to serve as a backup for James Robinson on Sunday against the New York Jets after Carlos Hyde was placed on injured reserve.