Eagles’ Doug Pederson Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Assistant Coach Sent Home

Doug Pederson

Getty What does the future hold for Doug Pederson after he left the Philadelphia Eagles.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. He is asymptomatic and feeling fine, per ESPN’s Tim McManus.

Pederson, in his fifth season at the Philly helm, told reporters last week that he didn’t feel unsafe in any way and expected a semi-normal training camp amid the COVID-19 pandemic. McManus said Pederson contracted the virus away from the team’s practice bubble at the NovaCare Complex. The 52-year-old revealed the news to the entire team in a closed-door meeting.

According to The Inquirer‘s Jeff McLane, Pederson will continue to lead the team “virtually” and assistant head coach Duce Staley will take over the head-coaching duties at the practice facility as Pederson quarantines before being re-tested in a week. It’s a fluid situation.

The Eagles put out a statement confirming the positive test result and saying that “individuals in close contact with Pederson” had been notified. Those impacted will continue with daily testing procedures and compliance with all protocols before returning to the facility. One of those staffers was reportedly Press Taylor, the Eagles’ passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, who was sent home despite testing negative for the virus.

Pederson is the second NFL head coach to get it after Sean Payton. Three Eagles players have landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, including Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata and Nathan Gerry. Johnson has been the only one to confirm a positive test result. Philadelphia opened up training camp on July 28.

“We understand that the virus is real and we do everything we can in our powers to stay safe, protecting ourselves when we’re in the building, protecting our players, and it’s unfortunate what has happened,” Pederson told reporters on July 27. “But we do have a lengthy set of protocols that we have to abide by, and this is our new normal right now, working in these conditions as probably most of you working in your conditions, as well. It’s something that we are going to embrace. We are going to make it a positive. It is what it is, and we’re going to embrace it and move forward.”

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NovaCare Complex Transformed to Protect Against Virus

The organization transformed the entire practice facility into a fortress of safety.

Additional weight rooms were constructed (15 athletes per gym). Hand-washing and hand-sanitizing stations were installed. And microbial devices were placed in every handle in the building. The moves were approved by Pederson and led by Ted Rath, the team’s new director of sports performance.

“We’re safe. We’re protected. You show up to work in the middle of a pandemic and you really don’t have to worry about anything because the protocols have been put in place,” Rath told Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro.

Pederson added that it’s all about trusting each other, and his early message to the team was to embrace the protocols. Players are required to wear masks and practice social distancing inside the building, as well as undergoing screening and filling out questionnaires before entering.

“My message early has been let’s just embrace it, it is what it is,” Pederson said. “We got to coach and teach with masks on — let’s keep them on, let’s protect one another. Because I know if we’re healthy and we remain healthy, good things are going to happen for the Philadelphia Eagles.”

The head coach doubled down on how safe he felt at the NovaCare Complex, calling it “our bubble” while admitting that he “can’t control everything.”

“I feel extremely safe,” Pederson said. “This is our bubble right here at NovaCare. I can’t control everything. We can’t control everything. There probably are going to be some things that come up down the road, but right now, I feel extremely safe and this is a great environment for our players to succeed in.”

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