Cowboys' Micah Parsons Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 List Before Week 18 vs. Eagles

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 5, 2022

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 21: Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Micah Parsons (11) flexes after a sack in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs on Nov 21, 2021 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys announced Wednesday linebacker Micah Parsons was placed on the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Saturday's Week 18 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Parsons, the Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite, has recorded 84 total tackles, 13 sacks, three passes defended and three forced fumbles in 16 appearances during his debut season.

The Cowboys have clinched a playoff berth as the NFC East champions and they are likely to remain as the conference's No. 4 seed, though there are a few scenarios where they could move up.

Yet, despite the limited ramifications for Saturday's game—the Eagles have also clinched a postseason spot—Dallas is planning to play its starters in the regular-season finale.

"There are slight odds to potentially move up, so we want to make sure we take care of business on our end and finish off and make sure that we're playing with momentum going into the game," head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters.

So, if Parsons clears the protocols before Saturday, he'll likely be on the field against Philly.

The linebacker was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2021 draft and has been a key driving force in Dallas' defensive improvement. The team ranks seventh in scoring defense (20.8 points allowed per game) after finishing 28th (29.6) in that category last season.

Parsons said Tuesday he takes "complete pride in being the most versatile player in the NFL" and believes his numbers reflect that ability to do anything rather than focusing on a single aspect of defending.

"I just do a lot of very different things on defense that change the game. I never play just one position," the Pro Bowl selection said. "I feel like, if I could just rush, I might be a 18-20 sack guy, too. And if I just stayed in pass coverage and run, I might be a 100-tackle guy, too."

The NFL's updated COVID-19 protocols announced in December allow for vaccinated players to return as quickly as 24 hours after a positive test if they remain asymptomatic. Parsons' vaccination status isn't publicly known.

If he misses Saturday's contest, he still has 10 days to clear protocols before the first possible date (Jan. 15) for the Cowboys' opening playoff game. 

Luke Gifford will likely join the starting lineup if Parsons is sidelined against the Eagles.