ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney will miss the remainder of the season. He was diagnosed with the heart ailment myocarditis during the bye week. Bills head coach Sean McDermott says it was connected to COVID-19.
In late October, tight end Dawson Knox tested positive for COVID-19 and was put on the COVID reserve list. Sweeney was one of the players deemed in “close contact” with Knox and also went on the list.
McDermott said, as part of a regular checkup with a cardiologist, Sweeney was found to have myocarditis. The heart disease was a major concern during the debate about whether athletes should be playing sports during a pandemic.
Sweeney is the first NFL player to be diagnosed with the disease this season. Jaguars running back Ryquell Armstead was deemed as “out for the year” just before Halloween because of significant respiratory issues related to COVID, but was not reported to have myocarditis.
Sweeney missed all of training camp with a foot injury and began the season on the physically unable to perform list. The Bills needed to activate him off that list by the end of last week to have him available at all this season.
McDermott did seem optimistic about Sweeney continuing his career next season.
“I saw him today. He looks in good spirits,” McDermott said. “It’s unfortunate. He’s had a rough year with the injury the early part of the year and now with the Covid. We know he’s a good football player. We know he’s a guy that we believe in and can’t wait to get him back on the field when we can here.”
There was no timetable provided for Sweeney’s recovery.