FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, who tested positive for COVID-19, will be back to work Thursday as his team continues preparation for Sunday's big NFC East game against the Washington Football Team at FedEx Field.
"The protocol experience has been an education to say the least, but I feel great. I'm ready to go," McCarthy said. "Frankly, I think it's more of a technicality with the testing process that's keeping me out the full 10 days. So my arrival will be first thing in the morning. Actually I think I might go at midnight, 12:01 tonight."
McCarthy watched from a Frisco hotel as the Cowboys beat the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 2. Since being placed in COVID protocols, he has run the meetings with players and coaches virtually. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn served as the head coach against the Saints.
Offensive line coaches Joe Philbin and Jeff Blasko, offensive assistant Scott Tolzien and strength and conditioning coaches Harold Nash and Kendall Smith have been back at The Star after they missed the Saints game as well.
The Cowboys' weight room reopened last Friday. Players can eat meals at the facility, and meetings will be in-person. The only player remaining on the reserve/COVID-19 list is rookie cornerback Nahshon Wright, who is expected to be cleared by Friday.
"We're back to a pretty normal protocol," McCarthy said. "We actually expanded some of the meeting rooms just to be extra cautious. We've been able to have bigger rooms for our O-line and D-line is probably the only big change."
McCarthy has been staying in a hotel since Nov. 26 and acknowledges becoming a bit restless.
"I get out. I take walks," he said. "I'm not a big fan of the telephone, and this is has really, really tested my patience because I feel like I live on the telephone and Zoom calls, so ...."
McCarthy said he will continue to stay at the hotel a little longer with four family members who tested positive for COVID, but he said they are all doing well.
"We just want to make sure we get our home space 100% clear before we have everybody back at the house," he said.
The good news for the Cowboys is McCarthy missed just one game, and not a playoff contest like Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski did when he was out for his team's wild-card win against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.
"I'm just thankful that it is behind me and, frankly, I can get back to my job full-time," McCarthy said. "It's a challenge, definitely, not being there every day, especially with what's right in front of us, the Washington challenge. I'll definitely look at it as a silver lining as obviously I don't have to deal with [testing] for the next 90 days."