The Buffalo Bills will be down a second defensive tackle Sunday.
After placing Justin Zimmer on injured reserve earlier in the week because of a knee injury, the Bills placed defensive tackle Star Lotulelei on the NFL's reserve/Covid-19 list just hours before kickoff at MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets.
It's the second stint on the reserve/Covid-19 list this year for Lotulelei. He was previously placed on the list during training camp after being deemed a close contact of a member of the team's strength and conditioning staff who tested positive for Covid-19.
Lotulelei, who opted out of last season because of Covid concerns, was not fully vaccinated in August, which led to him being placed on the reserve list for five days as a close contact. It's unknown at this time if Lotulelei has since been vaccinated. If he has, Lotulelei would be eligible to return when he's free of symptoms and returns two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. If Lotulelei is not fully vaccinated, he's require to quarantine for 10 days, meaning he would also miss the Week 11 game against the Indianapolis Colts.
His return this season has given a substantial boost to the run defense, which ranks fourth in the NFL in both yards per game (85.6) and yards per play (3.83) allowed.
With Lotulelei out and Zimmer on injured reserve, the Bills were down to just three defensive tackles in Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips and Vernon Butler. In response, the team elevated defensive tackle Brandin Bryant from the practice squad. Bryant, 6-foot-3 and 294 pounds, has played in five NFL games in his career, including for the Bills last season against New England.
He'll have to wait for game No. 6, however, as he's on the Bills' list of inactive players against the Jets. Bryant is joined by cornerback Cam Lewis, who missed practice earlier in the week because of a non-Covid illness, as well as offensive lineman Jamil Douglas and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who was previously ruled out because of a hamstring injury.