Baltimore Ravens WR Dez Bryant says he tested positive for COVID-19 just before kickoff

BALTIMORE -- Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant surprisingly announced he tested positive for COVID-19 just 30 minutes before his much-anticipated reunion with the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday night.

"Tell me why they pull me from warming up so I can go get tested," Bryant posted on Twitter. "... I tested positive for Covid.

"The crazy thing is i have the same damn routine. ... this s--- do not make sense to me."

According to the NFL, Bryant's polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test Tuesday morning was inconclusive, as was the retest. The results came back Tuesday evening because the lab is in Maryland.

Shortly before 7 p.m., the Ravens were notified of the inconclusive test and followed league protocol by treating it as a positive one, a source said. Two minutes later, Bryant was removed from the locker room and placed into an isolation room at M&T Bank Stadium.

Around 7:30 p.m., Bryant's latest test returned a positive result and he was ruled out of the game.

Immediately after being pulled from the field, Bryant sat for a contact-tracing interview with league and NFL Players Association officials, who also uploaded data from a movement-tracking device Bryant was wearing, a source told ESPN. Based on the interview and the results from the device, officials felt confident there were no high-risk close contacts, according to sources.

According to the league's COVID-19 policy, close contact does not include brief interactions, such as walking past someone.

Every other player on both teams tested negative on Tuesday.

The Ravens' facility is closed Wednesday, and the team expects to know Wednesday's test results by the evening.

After the Ravens' 34-17 win, quarterback Lamar Jackson said Bryant was on the players' minds as they played.

"We were looking around for him, then he told us. It was like, we're just going to have to pull the game for him; we've got to win that game for him, because we know how much it meant to him," Jackson said. "He's been talking about it for a minute now since he's been here. So, I don't like what happened, but it is what it is. We got the victory for him. I'm feeling for him, though, because I know this is a game he wanted to be in."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, when asked if he was confident no other players were at risk, said he would "trust the science."

"That's what the league does," he said. "They put a team into place. I've learned in the last couple of weeks that team is very extensive, and that's their job. So that's what they determined."

The NFL and NFLPA are not worried about close contacts with Bryant, sources told ESPN, because the Ravens have been operating under exceedingly strict protocols for the past two weeks, effectively eliminating the possibility of close contacts.

Shortly after Bryant's initial tweet, the Ravens announced Bryant had been scratched because of illness.

"Some guys had said something about it right before we went out before the national anthem, so I mean that sucks," Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott said. "I hope he gets better. I hope he recovers and I hope no one else on their team is infected also."

Bryant was out on the field about two hours before kickoff, catching passes from backup quarterback Trace McSorley. He crossed his arms for his signature "X" before walking into the tunnel to the locker room.

Bryant was not wearing a face covering at all times.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said he was informed of Bryant's positive test as he walked onto the field before kickoff. Asked if he was worried others might be infected, McCarthy said, "It's definitely not something I was a part of as far as any type of conversations at that level. I can't comment on it. You have contact tracing and protocols. Obviously all of that will be looked at and we'll move forward accordingly."

None of the Ravens who spoke with reporters after the game expressed any concern over their safety.

"They said there was no close contact," Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe said. "We're following the protocols as strict as possible, doing everything right. We'll see [Wednesday]. As long as we don't have any more positive tests, that means that the protocols are working."

Bryant was noticeably absent when Baltimore held its full-team warm-ups. In his initial series of tweets in which he announced his positive test, Bryant said he would not return this season; but he wrote in a subsequent tweet, "Yea I'm coming back... I'm being smart."

Bryant, 32, was set to play the Cowboys for the first time since Dallas cut him two years ago. Days before the game, Bryant said it was going to be "an exciting moment" to play the team with which he spent eight seasons and caught a franchise-record 73 touchdown passes.

He becomes the first Ravens player to test positive in a week. The Ravens were just involved in one of the biggest outbreaks in professional sports, with more than a dozen players testing positive in a 10-day stretch.

After joining the Ravens' practice squad on Oct. 27, Bryant was signed to the active roster four weeks later. In three games, Bryant hasn't had much of an impact on the NFL's 31st-ranked passing attack, making four catches for 28 yards.

"I feel for Dez," Wolfe said. "I know he wanted to play this game bad. He had a good week of practice. He was a great leader all week. It's just sad that he didn't get a chance to come out here and play against his old team on prime-time football on Tuesday night. I feel for him, and I hope he's doing all right. I hope he's healthy. I wish the best for the guy."

ESPN's Todd Archer and Dan Graziano contributed to this report.