In the latest round of coronavirus testing Saturday, the Tennessee Titans returned a positive COVID-19 result Sunday morning. That didn’t stop the NFL and organization from letting the team practice Sunday afternoon. Following a walkthrough Saturday, Sunday was Tennessee’s first actual practice since September 25th two days before their September 27th win over the Minnesota Vikings.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, it was far from business as normal in Nashville:
“Extra precautions [were] taken, including masks/mouth shields on players,” tweeted Pelissero. “The coach who tested positive for COVID-19 was isolated. Contact tracing continues. Game still on Tuesday vs. #Bills.”
Peter King of NBC Sports reported that the assistant coach who tested positive was not believed to be infected by someone inside the organization. That’s why the decision was made to go on with the practice despite the positive COVID-19 test. King called the work “a tightly controlled 1-hour, 45-minute practice at 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday.”
When discussing health and safety, pundits have been focusing on the coronavirus response for good reason, but one of the points the Titans players made after their illegal workout 12 days ago was that they needed to get their bodies ready to play football, too. That can be challenging working on your own. A walkthrough isn’t likely to do enough on that front, leaving the Tennessee players more prone to injuries in their game Tuesday night.
King also speculated on why the New England Patriots, who have also had a string of positive tests, had their game this week postponed until next weekend while the Tennessee Titans did not:
“It’s likely because the league thinks the New England positive test could easily trace to the two positive player tests, because the ideal time for incubation is four to five days and Stephon Gilmore’s positive test was four days earlier; and because the Tennessee positive may not have had the direct connection to the long string of Titans’ positives.”
He failed to mention that it’s just harder to move the Titans game because they already used their bye.