NFL: Lions remove Stafford from COVID-19 list after 'false positive'

FILE PHOTO: Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws against the Atlanta Falcons during their NFL football game at Wembley Stadium in London, October 26, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

(Reuters) - The Detroit Lions removed quarterback Matthew Stafford from the COVID-19 reserve list and placed him on the active roster on Tuesday after confirming his test result was a false positive.

The 32-year-old had been placed on the list last week, implying he had either tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who had contracted the virus.

The Lions said Stafford never had COVID-19 and had returned two negative coronavirus tests before the false positive. His following three tests were all negative.

“To be clear, Matthew does not have COVID-19 and never has had COVID-19 and the test in question was a False-Positive,” the Lions said in a statement. “All of Matthew’s family have been tested and everyone is negative.”

Stafford had his streak of 136 straight regular-season starts snapped last season due to a back injury.

The NFL’s 2020 campaign kicks off on Sept. 10 with enhanced measures in place to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, but numerous players have already chosen to opt out citing safety concerns.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford