In what could be the NFL’s first significant in-season test of its coronavirus protocols, the Tennessee Titans announced Tuesday they would not be holding in-person activities after the team had “several” positive COVID-19 tests in the aftermath of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Titans will be shut down through at least Saturday, putting Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in jeopardy. The Vikings are scheduled to play on the road against the Houston Texans.
“Out of the abundance of caution, the organization has decided to work remotely today as we follow NFL protocols related to the COVID-19 virus,” the team said in a statement. “Several tests have come back positive and [we] are working through the process of confirming them. We will have more information tomorrow.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement that the Titans returned three new positive tests from players and five from team staffers on Tuesday morning. The Vikings also are suspending team activities as both clubs follow the league’s protocols on COVID-19.
“Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the [NFL Players Association], including our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments,” Goodell said. ”All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration. We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available.”
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Monday that outside linebackers coach and defensive playcaller Shane Bowen did not travel with the team for Sunday’s game due to the COVID-19 protocol.
The Titans use devices that detect whenever someone is within 6 feet of another device and records how long they are that close together. That provides a recording of everyone’s interactions from inside the team headquarters to the practice field, an airplane, inside a hotel and at a stadium.
That information should help the Titans and the infectious disease experts know which players and coaches were at risk. With the Titans’ facility now closed for four days, that should also help limit further spread of the virus.
From Sept. 13-19, the NFL reported zero positive confirmed tests for COVID-19 among players. The league has not yet released figures for any more recent dates.
Contributing: Associated Press
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