(REUTERS) – WATFORD defender Adrian Mariappa said he was shocked at testing positive for the coronavirus, having strictly followed Britain’s social distancing guidelines and not shown any symptoms.The Premier League said on Tuesday that six people from three different clubs had tested positive for COVID-19 out of a sample of 748 and Watford had confirmed three positive cases.“Ever since I got my positive result back on Tuesday, I’ve been scratching my head to try to work out how I might have got coronavirus,” Mariappa, 33, told the Telegraph.“It was a big surprise because I haven’t really left the house, apart from some exercise and the odd walk with the kids. I’ve mainly just been homeschooling and keeping fit.“My lifestyle is very quiet, so I really don’t know how I got it. Like most people, we’ve been having more deliveries of food and things, so maybe that’s one way, and my partner has been to the supermarket a few times.”Mariappa, who will have to self-isolate for seven days in line with Premier League guidelines, said he was in the best shape of his career and looking forward to returning to training.“I’ve felt as fit as ever, probably fitter because I’ve been working really hard. I’ve been following my training programme and I’ve not felt out of breath or ill, or anything.”The Premier League hopes to restart its season in June, having been suspended since mid-March. Watford are due to return to training this week but skipper Troy Deeney has said he will not be present out of concern for his son’s health.
Published on August 30, 2016 at 11:06 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman First Ron Thompson left for the NFL Draft with a year of eligibility remaining. Then graduate transfer Gabe Sherrod backed out of his Syracuse pledge to join Michigan State. And when Jake Pickard dressed in sweats for a recent practice, it couldn’t seem to get any worse for the Orange’s defensive line.Pickard, who was listed as a first-teamer on the post-spring depth chart, is now a backup wearing a brace on his left knee. The only freshman starter, Kendall Coleman, jumped him on the depth chart and 296-pound Chris Slayton shifted from defensive tackle to the outside to help Syracuse at arguably its most depleted unit.“If you’ve got a son or a friend who’s playing defensive end, get excited,” first-year SU head coach Dino Babers said. “Buy some tickets because they’re going to be in the game.”For a team that ranked 12th out of 14 teams in the conference in rushing yards allowed per game, and last in average opponent yards per rush, losing three starters on the defensive line — Thompson, Donnie Simmons Jr. and John Raymon — certainly didn’t help. Instead, Syracuse will rely on an 18-year-old who’s never played a collegiate snap, a converted defensive end who put on eight pounds as he was supposed to anchor the interior with fellow defensive tackle Kayton Samuels this season and a host of others to plug the gaps in SU’s first line of defense.On paper, there’s not much to believe in. But the defensive line is out to provide exactly that.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor starters, an ESPN article is pinned on the wall inside Syracuse’s locker room, Pickard told Syracuse.com. It ranks each of the Atlantic Coast Conference front sevens. The Orange is dead last.It’s no surprise given the turnover and youth, two elements that leave more unknowns to be proven than sure bets. On one end, that’s been Syracuse’s hitch when it comes to offseason criticism of the defensive line. On the other, it’s right where the players waiting for their chance in the spotlight want to be.“I just want people to be like, you watch Syracuse, you know, ‘OK, the D-line is bringing it,’” Samuels said. “No matter what age, no matter nothing.”The two “veterans” of the unit are both redshirt sophomores. Samuels was a consistent starter last season and Slayton started five games. Aside from Samuels at nose tackle, don’t expect to see the same player at any of the other three spots up front.Sophomore Steven Clark will get significant minutes. So too will Pickard, presumably, once his injury fully heals. Then there’s graduate transfer De’Jon Wilson at defensive end and freshman McKinley Williams and sophomore Anthony Giudice up front to provide some depth. Slayton, too, may even shift back inside if the Orange has enough to cover on the outside.“Me and Chris are definitely the vets,” Samuels said. “(The young guys) are ready for it, just as much as we were ready for it.”Slayton has the potential to be a breakout star on the defense. He’s the strongest player on the team and showed flashes of domination last season, recording six tackles for loss, good for fourth on the team.“I’m just trying to be comfortable playing end, you know what I’m saying?” Slayton said.Like the unit he leads, Slayton isn’t offering anything extravagant. He and the three others who will line up beside him Friday night aren’t in the position to make those statements given last year’s struggles.But this is a new year. And the defensive line just wants people to wait and see. Comments Related Stories Syracuse football defensive linemen not locked into 1 spot in Tampa 2 Facebook Twitter Google+