Jordan Whitehead is heading into his fourth training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but he won't be on the field when the team starts practicing on Sunday.
On Friday, the Buccaneers announced that Whitehead, one of the team's two starting safeties during their 2020 Super Bowl run, has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Tampa Bay's first 2021 training camp practice is set for Sunday morning.
This new reserve list category was created last season for players who either test positive for COVID-19 or who have been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons. If a player falls into either of these categories, his club is required to immediately place the player on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Per agreed upon NFL-NFLPA policy, clubs are not permitted to comment on player's medical status other than referring to roster status. Clubs may not disclose whether player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19. There will be some procedural changes to the COVID rules in 2021 based on whether or not the player(s) in question are fully vaccinated.
It is not immediately clear when Whitehead will be allowed to return to the team.
Whitehead started all 20 games for the Buccaneers in 2020, including the postseason. He finished fourth on the team with 74 tackles and added 2.0 sacks, nine tackles for loss, two interceptions, four passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. During the playoffs he added nine more tackles, a pass defensed and two forced fumbles. Both of his forced fumbles came in the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay, the second of which led directly to a critical touchdown just after halftime.
A fourth-round draft pick out of Pittsburgh in 2018, Whitehead has played in 45 regular season games and made 41 starts over three seasons with the Buccaneers. He has amassed 219 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, three interceptions and 11 passes defensed.
The move of Whitehead to the reserve list leaves the Buccaneers a little thin at safety to start training camp, after veteran Curtis Riley was waived/injured on Thursday. The team will have six safeties available for Sunday's practice, including returning contributors Antoine Winfield, Jr. and Mike Edwards, first-year man Javon Hagan, offseason veteran addition Raven Greene and undrafted rookies Augie Contressa and Lawrence White.
The Buccaneers do have two open spots on their 90-man camp roster at the moment after the moves of the last two days. Players on the reserve/COVID-19 list do not count against the roster limit.