Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins has tested positive for COVID-19, head coach Sean McDermott tells WGR 550 (Twitter link via Albert Breer of The MMQB). Unless Dawkins can pass a follow-up test between now and Sunday, he’ll be held out of this week’s game against the Panthers.
At 7-6, the Bills are jockeying for a Wild Card spot and still chasing the Patriots for the AFC East crown. Playing without Dawkins, the team’s starting left tackle since 2017, would obviously put them at a disadvantage.
Dawkins could be cleared in time, thanks to the league’s new protocols, but his medical history could also be a factor. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman was hospitalized for four days this summer after developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. He lost 16 pounds during that stretch, so he may prefer to exercise caution.
Dawkins has been first string for all 13 of his games this year, giving him 72 career starts for Buffalo out of 77 total games. Even though this is his worst year to date, per the metrics at Pro Football Focus, he’s still ranked 45th among all qualified tackles. Last year, Dawkins placed 14th with an overall score of 80.6.
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