Washington Football Team starting quarterback Taylor Heinicke is among three players to be activated after clearing COVID-19 protocols, the team announced Thursday.
Heinicke will return to practice Thursday and is expected to start Sunday night’s pivotal game at the Dallas Cowboys. After winning four consecutive games, Washington (6-8) has lost two in a row and likely has to win its final three games to have a shot at the playoffs.
Linebacker David Mayo and tight end Temarrick Hemingway were also activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.
Heinicke and backup Kyle Allen were placed on the reserve list last week and were among the 13 players and seven assistant coaches who missed the 27-17 loss Tuesday to the Philadelphia Eagles. The team had hoped one of them would be cleared in time for that game, but the expectation had always been they would return for the Dallas game.
Garrett Gilbert, who was signed off New England‘s practice squad Friday, was the starting quarterback against the Eagles.
Washington, who has 15 players on injured reserve, also has a home rematch against the Eagles and a road game at the New York Giants.
Heinicke had started every game since Week 1 starter Ryan Fitzpatrick was injured in the second quarter of the season opener. In 12 starts, Heinicke has thrown for 2,931 yards and 19 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. His Total QBR of 46.2 ranks 22nd among NFL quarterbacks.
Getting Mayo back is important because starting inside linebacker Cole Holcomb was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday.
Washington still has injury concerns on defense. Corner William Jackson III (ankle) and safety/linebacker Landon Collins (foot) were hurt in the game Tuesday. Safety Kam Curl and cornerback Kendall Fuller, both starters, remain on the COVID-19 list.