We’re really not going to have a full understanding of the long-term health ramifications that come with falling ill to COVID-19 for some time. This specific former Jacksonville Jaguars running back is a prime example of that.
A fifth-round pick of the Jaguars back in 2019, Ryquell Armstead looked pretty darn good as a rookie. He recorded 252 total yards and two touchdowns at a clip of 5.1 yards per touch in limited action. Armstead was expected to take on a larger role as a sophomore in 2020 before coming down with COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the former Temple standout was hit especially hard by the virus. Armstead was hospitalized multiple times, leading to him being ruled out for the entire season.
“While most NFL players have recovered quickly from COVID-19, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Ryquell Armstead has not,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted back in October. “Armstead, who some within the Jacksonville organization thought would replace Leonard Fournette as the starting running back, is not expected to play again this season because of symptoms that he has suffered while battling COVID-19.”
In fact, Armstead was one of the reasons the Jacksonville Jaguars moved on from Fournette after the former top-five pick put up nearly 1,700 total yards in 2019. The still-young 24-year-old back now has no future in Duval. The Jaguars waived Armstead on Monday.
Impact of the Jacksonville Jaguars waiving Ryquell Armstead
To be clear, this is an exception to the rule. For the most part, NFL players have recovered from COVID-19 without any lingering long-term health effects. Obviously, some fell extremely ill with the virus. That includes former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.
As for Armstead, it’s not yet known how being what has been deemed a “long-haul” COVID-19 victim will impact the remainder of his NFL career.
With Armstead sidelined last season, undrafted rookie free agent James Robinson dominated for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He recorded 1,414 total yards and 10 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Jacksonville selected running back Travis Etienne in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
While he’s taking snaps at wide receiver, it’s expected Etienne will pair up with Robinson in Jacksonville’s backfield this coming season.