Cowboys' McCarthy in COVID protocols, won't coach vs. Saints

McCarthy, who has said he is vaccinated, will be involved in all meetings virtually and will direct game preparations, the team said Monday. McCarthy is the sixth Dallas coach or staff member to be sidelined for the game against the Saints.

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A virtual news conference scheduled for Monday morning with McCarthy was canceled. The team is conducting meetings virtually while holding in-person practices. There was no immediate word who would serve as interim coach on the sideline in New Orleans.

“Although he will not be on the field for the Saints game, McCarthy will continue to direct, and be in involved in, all meetings and game preparations on a virtual basis for the remainder of the week, including Thursday’s meetings in New Orleans,” the team said.

The Cowboys had a COVID-19 outbreak in the preseason and early part of the regular season. There was a lull for about a month before cases ticked up again, starting with kicker Greg Zuerlein in early November.

Right tackle Terence Steele won’t play against the Saints after testing positive for COVID-19. Offensive line coach Joe Philbin and his assistant, Jeff Blasko, are out along with offensive assistant Scott Tolzien.

Two members of the strength and conditioning staff won’t make the trip: coordinator Harold Nash Jr. and assistant Kendall Smith. Another assistant, Cedric Smith, is expected to be cleared to return.

“COVID is always something we’re going to have think about this year, and we’re having a little outbreak right now,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said Sunday, when the club announced positive tests for Steele, Blasko, Tolzien and Nash. “Guys just to make sure we’re taking that extra precaution and making sure we’re keeping ourselves, our families and our teammates safe.”

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