San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have placed star linebacker Fred Warner on the COVID-19/Reserve list, less than two weeks before they are set to kick off their 2020 season against the Arizona Cardinals.

Warner, one of the leading tackles and playmakers in San Francisco’s defense, becomes the first NFL star to land on the COVID-19 list in several weeks.

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49ers place linebacker Fred Warner on COVID-19 list

The NFL has been riding a wave of momentum with its COVID-19 testing with the regular season drawing closer. In the latest round of testing, the COVID-19 data showed that not a single new player tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Warner has been notably absent from recent practices during training camp. After seeing little time on Friday, reporters didn’t spot him at the facility on Sunday. Now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the talented linebacker lands on the COVID-19 list.

Notably, the league created the list to both protect those who land on it and ensure the safety of their teammates. Teams aren’t allowed to disclose the reason for putting the player on the list, but it can be due to that person testing positive for the virus, experiencing symptoms or being in close contact with someone who contracted the coronavirus.

Being placed on the list doesn’t necessarily mean the player will be sidelined for a lengthy period of time. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford came off the reserve/COVID-19 list just three days after landing on it, following a false-positive test.

MORE: How many COVID-19 tests will the NFL use this season?

The NFL’s COVID-19 testing system hasn’t been perfect. The league suffered a major scare on Aug. 23 when more than 70 players tested positive for the coronavirus. However, the lab later determined those were all false-positive results.

Fortunately, the recent incident proved to be a blip on the path that could be corrected. With the 2020 season set to begin on Sept. 10, things look promising for a full NFL schedule.

Matt Johnson
NFL, MLB & college football writer for Sportsnaut. Graduated from San Diego State University with BA in Journalism, 2019. Grew up in Sacramento, now based in Indianapolis. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection, With the First Pick