“Tell me why they pull me from warming up so I can go get tested,” Bryant posted on Twitter. “… I tested positive for Covid.
“The crazy thing is i have the same damn routine. … this s— do not make sense to me.”
According to the NFL, Bryant’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test Tuesday morning was inconclusive, as was the rerun of the test. The results came back on Tuesday evening because the lab is in Maryland.
The subsequent point-of-contact PCR test at the stadium was positive, and Bryant was removed, per NFL protocol.
Bryant had taken the field for pregame warm-ups despite the fact that, per league protocols, his two inconclusive tests should have been treated as if they were positive, and he should have been “subject to the other requirements and procedures of a positive test.”
A source told ESPN that Bryant was already on the field by the time the league found out the results of his tests were inconclusive.
Immediately after being pulled from the field, Bryant sat for a contact-tracing interview with league and NFL Players Association officials, who also uploaded data from a movement-tracing device that Bryant was wearing, a source told ESPN. Based on the interview and the results from the device, officials felt confident there were no high-risk close contacts, according to sources.
According to the league’s COVID-19 policy, close contact does not include brief interactions, such as walking past someone.
Every other player on both teams tested negative on Tuesday.
The NFL and NFLPA are not worried about close contacts with Bryant, sources told ESPN, because the Ravens have been operating under exceedingly strict protocols for the past two weeks, effectively eliminating the possibility of close contacts.
Shortly after Bryant’s initial tweet, the Ravens announced Bryant had been scratched due to illness.
Bryant was out on the field about two hours before kickoff, catching passes from backup quarterback Trace McSorley. He crossed his arms for his signature “X” before walking into the tunnel to the locker room.
Bryant was not wearing a face covering at all times.
Bryant was noticeably absent when Baltimore held its full-team warm-ups. In his initial series of tweets in which he announced his positive test, Bryant said he would not return this season; but he wrote in a subsequent tweet, “Yea I’m coming back… I’m being smart.”
Bryant, 32, was set to play the Cowboys for the first time since Dallas cut him two years ago. Days before the game, Bryant said it was going to be “an exciting moment” to play the team with which he spent eight seasons and caught a franchise-record 73 touchdown passes.
He becomes the first Ravens player to test positive in a week. The Ravens were just involved in one of the biggest outbreaks in professional sports, with more than a dozen players testing positive in a 10-day stretch.
After joining the Ravens’ practice squad on Oct. 27, Bryant was signed to the active roster four weeks later. In three games, Bryant hasn’t had much of an impact on the NFL’s 31st-ranked passing attack, making four catches for 28 yards.
ESPN’s Todd Archer and Dan Graziano contributed to this report.