Dez Bryant removed before Tuesday night’s Dallas Cowboys-Baltimore Ravens game due to positive COVID test

Jori Epstein
 
| USA TODAY

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The Dallas Cowboys and three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant parted ways two and a half years ago.

Each side was eager for a Tuesday night reunion as the Cowboys traveled to Baltimore, where Bryant is now playing.

Life apparently had other plans for Bryant.

Bryant tweeted less than half an hour before game time that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“Tell me why they pull me from warming up so I can go get tested…” Bryant wrote. “My [expletive] come back positive… I tested positive for Covid WTF”

Bryant added that the “crazy thing is I have the same damn routine” and “this [expletive] do not make sense to me.”

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Bryant’s routine daily PCR test earlier Tuesday had apparently come back inconclusive, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Re-running the results in a lab led to another inclusive test, so the league guided the Ravens to administer a point-of care, or rapid, test during warmups. It was then that Bryant — who had already caught up with a host of former teammates and members of the Cowboys organization — was ruled ineligible.

The NFL still kicked off the game as scheduled, believing no players needed to be deemed high-risk close contacts because the Ravens had adhered to masking and social-distancing protocols in recent days, a person with knowledge of the decision told USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation. Bryant becomes the 24th player to test positive for COVID-19 since Nov. 23, when Baltimore was ravaged by an outbreak the team later said included four strains of the novel coronavirus.

Baltimore’s outbreak delayed its Thanksgiving game vs. Pittsburgh to the following Wednesday and the subsequent “Thursday Night Football” contest with the Cowboys to Tuesday.

In eight seasons with the Cowboys, Bryant raced to a franchise-record 73 receiving touchdowns in addition to 7,459 yards in 113 games with the team.

He signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2018, only to tear his Achilles before getting the opportunity to play in a game.

The Ravens elevated him from their practice squad in November, and he’s since played three games, catching four of seven targets for 28 yards.

He said in the leadup to this game that past acrimony with the Cowboys was “water under the bridge.” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke Tuesday morning about how Bryant was a joy for him.

The Cowboys have since given Bryant’s jersey number 88 to standout rookie CeeDee Lamb.

Bryant, who has said he’s spent the last couple years working on his mental health struggles, tweeted again 15 minutes after his initial notification he’s tested positive.

“Yeah I’m going to go ahead and call it a quit for the rest of the season,” Bryant wrote. “I can’t deal with this.”

During the first half, he added a follow-up.

“I’m about to drink wine,” Bryant wrote, “and cope.”

Contributing: Mike Jones

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.