Titans’ COVID-19 Outbreak Worsens, Other NFL Games Now in Doubt


Maddie Meyer/Getty Images QB Cam Newton of the New England Patriots warms up ahead of a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020.

On Saturday morning another Tennessee Titans player and two more Titans staff members tested positive for COVID-19, this according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

The Titans are now dealing with a total of 16 new positive tests (eight players, eight personnel members), not including outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen, who tested positive last week.

The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the postponement of this weekend’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Titans’ facilities remain closed as all of the team’s in-person activities remain suspended indefinitely.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that no other NFL team has yet been affected by the Tennessee Titans outbreak. That includes the Minnesota Vikings, who played the Titans in Week 3, and have had zero positive test results since that game.

According to Tom Pelissero, reporter for NFL Network and NFL.com, the league has been “optimistic” that the Titans outbreak would not spread to the Vikings, as “Proximity tracking device data did not show ‘close contacts’ between the teams. Yes, they were blocking and tackling. But not the type of contact concerning for COVID-19 transmission.”

Tennessee Titans Players on the COVID-19 List

On Friday the Titans placed wide receivers Adam Humphries (53-man roster) and Cameron Batson (practice squad) on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list. This after adding cornerback Kristian Fulton to the list on Thursday, supplementing a list of names that already included outside linebacker Kamalei Correa, defensive lineman DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson.

The player who tested positive today will likely be added to the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list sometime on Saturday afternoon. But the latest developments don’t bode well for the immediate future.

“At this rate … next weekend’s Titans-Bills game would be in jeopardy,” says ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs Postponed

Meanwhile, the NFL has decided to postpone Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, hoping to play that game either Monday or Tuesday, much like the NFL originally aimed to move the Steelers-Titans game to Monday or Tuesday.

This comes in the wake of news that Patriots starting quarterback Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19 and is “out” for the Chiefs game.

A statement issued by the Patriots on Saturday morning indicated that “several additional players, coaches, and staff … have been in close contact with [Cam Newton].”

While those players, coaches and staffers received point of care tests on Saturday morning and all tested negative for COVID-19, more testing will be needed in the coming days to ensure the virus has not spread across the New England Patriots organization.

Fans at Heinz Field?

Meanwhile, the Steelers continue to work toward hosting fans at Heinz Field, providing an update to season ticket holders on Friday afternoon.

“As of today, it has not been determined whether we can host fans for our October home games on Sunday, October 11th and Sunday, October 18th, but we want to alert you that we will contact you by email as soon as we know if fans will be permitted,” noted the email in question. “Once a decision is made on whether fans are permitted, we will provide details of the seat selection process that will be available to you.”

Steelers team president Art Rooney II recently said, “We really think it’s time for fans” at Heinz Field.

Pittsburgh would have played in front of approximately 7,000 fans at Nissan Stadium, had its Week 4 game against the Titans moved forward as originally scheduled.

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