Multiple Titans players and personnel test positive for coronavirus
As first reported by ESPN, three Titans players and five Titans staffers have tested positive for COVID-19. In response, the Titans have closed their facilities until Saturday and will conduct all practices and meetings virtually. The Titans played the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday. While the Vikings have no positive cases through Tuesday morning, they are also shutting down their facility out of caution.
The NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement:
On Tuesday morning, the Titans COVID testing results returned three new player positives and five new personnel positives. The Titans will suspend in-person club activities starting today. Likewise, the Vikings, who played the Titans on Sunday, will also suspend in-person club activities. Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA, including our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments. All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration. We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available.
One potentially disturbing aspect from the ESPN report is that the Titans were without outside linebacker coach Shane Bowen on Sunday. Bowen was placed in COVID protocol and did not travel with the team after getting test results back Saturday. Bowen was presumably in close contact with other members of the Titans throughout the week.
The news out of Tennessee is new ground for the NFL. Up until now, the league’s daily rapid testing and strict travel protocols appeared to be working.
Players who test positive can return to work after 10 days if they remain asymptomatic or after 5 days if they remain asymptomatic and test negative on consecutive days.
The Titans are already missing offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson who was put in COVID-19 protocol earlier this month.
Tennessee, sitting atop the AFC South at 3-0, is scheduled to host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4.