One positive COVID-19 test benches three Texans linebackers
Houston Texans reserve linebacker Jacob Martin (AP Photo)

The Texans had one linebacker test positive for COVID-19 but will have three linebackers missing as a result when they play Jacksonville on Sunday.

The team confirmed Thursday that key reserve linebacker Jacob Martin has tested positive for the coronavirus and must quarantine away from the team for at least 14 days. But linebackers Whitney Mercilus and Dylan Cole must also isolate for five days after the NFL found that they both had been in close contact with Martin. Mercilus is a starter.

Houston Texans linebacker Jacob Martin (54) rushes during an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)

It was the second positive test result for the Texans in as many weeks after offensive lineman Max Scharping was found to have COVID-19 last week and is also still quarantining.

“Well it’s never easy when you lose your top guys and these are some top guys on defense for us, but one of the things I always talk to the players about in their roles and how important their roles are that they have to be ready to step up and play when called on,” said interim Texans coach Romeo Crennel. “I always tell them that if you’re in the game when the ball is snapped, you are a starter and you are expected to react and respond as a starter.”

The Texans were forced to close their facility yesterday, and conduct meetings virtually on what is normally a critical practice day for Sunday games. Crennel was hopeful that everything would be cleared for Friday and that no other players would have to be held out against the Jaguars.

“When we talk about (Friday), you practice (Friday), and we’ll have to add a couple things to the schedule,” Crennel said during a Zoom call with the local media. “Trying to get some of the stuff (Thursday) without making – without going overboard on the practice and the time that we’re on the field because we play a game on Sunday.”