Get one back, lose another.
That appears to be the process for the Dallas Cowboys through the first three weeks of the 2021 season.
Per sources, linebacker Keanu Neal has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as a close contact. His availability for Monday night’s home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles is up in the air.
Neal is not fully vaccinated and must stay away from the team for five days and be tested daily. If he doesn’t test positive, he could play against the Eagles.
Neal is the 11th Cowboys player to be placed under COVID-19 protocols since Aug. 21 and possibly the fourth to miss a game this season.
Guards Zack Martin and Brandon Knight missed the season opener against the Tampa Buccaneers due to COVID protocols. They returned for Week 2 but defensive end Randy Gregory was placed on the COVID-19 list and missed Sunday’s game against the Chargers.
Gregory is expected to return for the Eagles game but the Cowboys could be without Neal, who starts in the nickel defense alongside rookie sensation Micah Parsons.
If Neal can’t play, it will mean increased playing time for Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith.
Neal is sixth on the team with eight tackles in two games.