NFL steps up protocols as Titans’ coronavirus cases grow

The Bears play the Titans on Saturday.

SHARE NFL steps up protocols as Titans’ coronavirus cases grow

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was added to the team’s list of players on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.

Jason Behnken, AP Photos

The NFL has begun enhanced mitigation protocols — including mandatory indoor masking — for the Titans after their positive coronavirus tests this week, NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said Thursday. 

The Bears play the Titans on Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nine Titans players and coaches have been put on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Coach Mike Vrabel tested positive Sunday, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill was added to the list Thursday. Vrabel is vaccinated; Tannehill said at the start of training camp he was in the process of doing so. General manager Jon Robinson told reporters the Titans were 97-98% vaccinated.

Leaguewide, almost 93% of players are vaccinated, Sills said, while per league rules, all coaches and staff without a religious exemption have been vaccinated. 

Sills said that 68 people out of a leaguewide 7,190 tested positive between Aug. 1 and Aug. 20. Among that group, the incidence rate was seven times higher for unvaccinated people than vaccinated ones. The cases were almost all of the delta variant. 

The NFL tests unvaccinated players every other week. The NFLPA wants to increase the frequency to daily; the league has countered with once per week.

Former Bears quarterback Matt Barkley will start in place of Tannehill on Saturday.

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