NFL responds to positive COVID cases

Thomas Barry, Staff Reporter

The NFL had to juggle several teams’ schedules last Sunday after the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans had multiple positive tests of Coronavirus across their facilities recently. 

These schedule changes come after the Tennessee Titans had 24 positive Covid-19 tests across their players and staff. This outbreak has shut down the Titans facilities for the past two weeks now, leaving them unsure when they will be able to get back on the field.

“It was a roller coaster for sure,” Titans QB Ryan Tannehill told the Associated Press on Saturday, “Definitely the fact that we had guys with no symptoms testing positive and we had guys with full-blown symptoms getting consecutive negative tests on multiple days was really eye opening. Just the fact of we really don’t know.”

The New England Patriots had their game rescheduled for the second straight week after reigning Defensive Player Of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive for coronavirus after the Patriots – Chiefs game last week. The Chiefs did still play their game on Sunday against the Raiders even though they had a trainer test positive.

The Chicago Bears confirmed that offensive lineman Badara Traore tested positive and was moved to the reserve/Covid-19 list on Saturday. They won their game against the Buccaneers on Thursday.

“We have said all along that we expect positive cases. As long as the virus is endemic in our communities, we will see new cases among our teams. Risk mitigation, not elimination, is the key. Our protocols are designed to quickly identify new cases, get individuals the care they need and prevent further spread of the virus,” NFL Chief of Medical Officer Allen Stills addressed the media on Wednesday.  

I talked to a teacher here at Naugatuck High School on Monday who seemed to understand the controversy the teams are experiencing and support the decision of the NFL.

“I think they have done well so far. They have the flexibility of moving games to nights like Monday and Tuesday which we have seen so far.” Mr. Barton told me in an interview. “They show that they really care about player safety” he continued to say.

Nine teams have been affected. The New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Miami Dolphins have all experienced schedule changes because of the outbreak across the NFL.

The NFL is expected to have an ongoing investigation throughout this week on whether the Titans or the Patriots have violated Covid-19 guidelines set by the league at the beginning of the season.