The Tennessee Titans have recorded eight positive COVID-19 tests and are suspending in-person club activities.
The NFL confirmed that the positive test results were returned Tuesday morning. The Minnesota Vikings, who hosted the Titans on Sunday, are also suspending team activities per NFL protocol during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Vikings, however, reported zero positive results in tests administered after Sunday’s game.
“On Tuesday morning, the Titans COVID testing results returned three new player positives and five new personnel positives. The Titans will suspend all in-person club activities starting (Tuesday). Likewise, the Vikings, who played the Titans on Sunday, will also suspend in-person club activities,” the NFL said in a statement. “Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and 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.”
ESPN reported a league source said, “we are shutting down Tennessee until Saturday.”
The Titans placed defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Vikings released a statement saying they are following protocol despite clean returns on their tests.
“Today the NFL notified us that members of the Tennessee Titans organization have tested positive for COVID-19,” the Vikings’ statement said. “As of (Tuesday) morning, we have not received any positive results from Vikings testing following Sunday’s game. Per the NFL protocol, we will suspend in-person club activities and close TCO Performance Center immediately. We will work closely with the NFL and NFLPA to monitor the situation, perform additional testing and determine when the facility can reopen. We will provide further updates regarding this week’s football schedule when appropriate.”
The outbreak marks the first for the NFL involving players since the start of the 2020 regular season. A widespread string of false positives during training camp invites caution over any immediate reaction.
Tuesday is a scheduled off day for players other than those requiring medical treatment.
Minnesota is scheduled to visit the Houston Texans on Sunday. Tennessee is scheduled to host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Nashville. Both games are off the board at sportsbooks. However, NFL Network is reporting that as of now, both games are still on while the teams work through contract tracing and the league evaluates the situation. That includes a scenario in which neither team is permitted to practice as contact tracing and subsequent testing takes place.
ESPN reported that while the league intends to play the Titans-Steelers game Sunday, an alternative would be to move it to Monday night to allow more time for contact tracing. Additionally, the teams could play Tuesday, ESPN reported.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin delayed his usual noon ET Tuesday press conference, but the Steelers released a statement saying they have been in contact with the league about preparations for Sunday’s game.
“We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday’s game until we are informed otherwise,” the Steelers said.
NFL Network reported earlier Tuesday that the Vikings and Titans could have their schedules altered to include a bye this week. Both teams were scheduled to be off Week 7. However, their Week 4 opponents do not align with those bye weeks. The Texans and Steelers are scheduled for Week 8 byes.