Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play Sunday against the Raiders in Las Vegas.
Harris missed last Sunday’s game at Atlanta because he was on the league’s COVID-19/reserve list after he reported to the Broncos a close contact last week. On Monday, coach Vic Fangio said he expected Harris to be back at the facility and available to practice this week leading into Sunday’s game, but that changed Wednesday morning.
“It’s a big blow,” Fangio said. “He’s been playing very, very well this season for us and having the best season of his career up to this point… It’s a big blow any time you lose one of your better players.”
Due to Harris’ positive test, the Broncos will be doing virtual meetings Wednesday instead of an in-person practice at the UCHealth Training Center.
Harris, 29, was a defensive strong point in his seven games played this season, with 2.5 sacks, 23 total tackles, four tackles for loss, three pass deflections and a forced fumble. Playing on a one-year deal, the former seventh-round pick by Oakland in 2014 has increased his market value once again this year after a solid 2019 season in which he started all 16 games for the first time in his career.
In Harris’ absence, and with fellow Week 1 starter Jurrell Casey out for the year with a biceps injury, the Broncos will again lean on DeMarcus Walker and DeShawn Williams at the defensive end positions on Sunday. That duo combined to play 74 snaps against the Falcons.
Harris is the third known Broncos player to have tested positive since training camp started after tight end/fullback Andrew Beck and right guard Graham Glasgow. Offensive line coach Mike Munchak, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and running backs coach Curtis Modkins have also spent time in the league’s COVID protocols, away from the team.
Glasgow missed the past two games, but Fangio said he expects for him to be cleared this week to practice and play against the Raiders.