Earlier this week, Cowboys linebacker Keanu Neal was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list as a high-risk close contact. Though he had not received a positive test at the time, the fact that he isn’t fully vaccinated forced him onto the list.
On Saturday, just two days before their Monday night matchup against the Eagles, the Cowboys got some more bad news regarding their star defender.
Neal has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss his team’s Week 3 matchup, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.
Cowboys LB Keanu Neal won’t be available on Monday vs. Eagles, Mike McCarthy said. He has tested positive after entering protocol as a close contact.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 25, 2021
Neal is the 11th Dallas player to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list since Aug. 21, per Gehlken. Star right guard Zack Martin returned from the list last week and defensive end Randy Gregory is set to make his return on Monday.
With the absence of Gregory and star DE DeMarcus Lawrence (IR: broken foot) last week, rookie linebacker Micah Parson was forced to step up. And the first-round pick is seemingly embracing his new role as a talented edge rusher.
Now that Neal is out as well, Parsons will need to continue his stellar play on Monday night.
Veteran LB Leighton Vander Esch will start in place of Neal.