The NFL is experiencing their first COVID-19 outbreak as three Tennessee Titans players and five staff members tested positive for coronavirus. All the players and coaches who tested positive are asymptomatic. The news of the positive test immediately prompted both the Titans and the Vikings to suspend all activities as a precaution until another round of tests are conducted, CBS Sports reports.
The Titans placed defensive lineman DaQuan Jones, snapper Beau Brinkley and tight end Tommy Hudson on the COVID-19 reserves list for either positive tests or precautionary quarantining. They also announced that linebacker coach Shane Bowen was placed on the list on Saturday and did not travel with the team to Minnesota, the Washington Post reports.
The Titans will continue to suspend all activities until Saturday when another round of tests is conducted. A statement from the Titans was released earlier this week on the recent positive tests coming out of the team, according to CBS Sports:
“Out of abundance of caution, the organization has decided to work remotely today as we follow NFL protocols related to the COVID-19 virus. Several tests have come back positive and (we) are working through the process of confirming them. We will have more information tomorrow.”
Because the Vikings played the Titans on Sunday, they were forced to suspend all activities as well. Luckily, there were no positive test from the Vikings, but they will continue to be cautious and follow NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.
The scheduled game between the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans will continue as planned, however the NFL announced that the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans will be postponed to a later date following the outbreak in the Titans team, USA Today reports.
Head coach of the Steelers, Mike Tomlin says that this decision will not affect the Steelers’ and they will continue to train as if there will be a game on Sunday. “We’ve been given a mandate to prepare as if the game is going to be played and played on time, and so that is our mentality” said Tomlin according to USA Today. “We’ve gone about business from a game-planning standpoint with that mentality, and we intend to push into tomorrow with a normal-scheduled Wednesday and our slate of work for Wednesday.”
The NFL continues to stress the importance of following NFL protocols so further outbreaks do not occur. Last week a series of fines were handed to NFL head coaches and their teams for failing to wear face covering on the sidelines during Week 2.
According to the NFL COVID-19 protocols, if a player tests positive for coronavirus and is not experiencing symptoms, they will have to wait five days to be retested. If the test comes back negative, they may return 24 hours after the negative test. If it comes back positive, they may not return for 10 days from the original test and until they test negative. This works the same way if a player is symptomatic (The Washington Post).
The Titans outbreak will be the NFL’s first test in finding out what to do when there is an outbreak on a team. The NFL will continue to test players daily and enforce strict social distancing guidelines and face coverings all throughout the league.
When the Titans and Steelers will play is still undetermined. The game may be held on a Monday or Tuesday, but until the Titans come back with all negative tests, all Titans activities will remain suspended until further notice.