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Bruce Arians set to coach Bucs on Sunday against Jets

Additionally, two cornerbacks have been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Bucs coach Bruce Arians, who spent most of the week in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, was expected to fly with the club Saturday to New Jersey and coach Sunday afternoon against the Jets.
Bucs coach Bruce Arians, who spent most of the week in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, was expected to fly with the club Saturday to New Jersey and coach Sunday afternoon against the Jets. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jan. 1|Updated Jan. 1

Four days after the team announced his positive COVID-19 test, Bucs coach Bruce Arians has returned to work and was expected to fly with the team this afternoon for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the Jets.

The team also activated cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting from the reserve/COVID-19 list. The pair, placed on the list Tuesday, aren’t traveling with the team to New Jersey, but the organization will arrange private flights for both.

They formally were added to the team’s injury report, where they were listed as questionable. Receivers coach Kevin Garver, who also tested positive early in the week, has re-joined the team as well.

The quick return of Arians, Garver and the two corners was made possible by the NFL’s amended COVID-19 protocol.

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation to shorten the period of isolation for those infected with coronavirus from 10 days to five days (if asymptomatic), the NFL now permits vaccinated and unvaccinated players to return after five days.

Additionally, the team elevated four players — punter Sterling Hofrichter, outside linebacker Elijah Ponder, running back Kenjon Barner and receiver Cyril Grayson — from the practice squad. All are eligible to play Sunday.

Hofrichter, an Armwood High alumnus, will punt for the second game in a row in place of veteran Bradley Pinion, on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Barner should handle return duties for the second consecutive game in place of Jaelon Darden, also on the list. Ponder adds depth to a unit missing starters Jason Pierre-Paul (rotator cuff) and Shaquil Barrett (knee).

While Dean and Murphy-Bunting didn’t practice all week, both are expected to play to an extent. Arians, however, has lauded the depth created at the position as a result of myriad injuries. Starter Carlton Davis remains healthy, and Pierre Desir, Dee Delaney, Ross Cockrell and Rashard Robinson remain on the active roster.

Grayson, coming off a career game last weekend at Carolina (three catches, 81 yards), provides depth for a depleted receiver unit. Chris Godwin (torn ACL) is out for the season, while the game-day status of Mike Evans (hamstring) and Antonio Brown (ankle) remains unclear.

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