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Report: Tennessee Titans violated NFL’s COVID-19 protocols including holding workouts last week

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Tennessee Titans gathered for an off-site workout during their COVID-19 quarantine, according to a report from Paul Kuharsky. Kuharsky, formerly of ESPN’s AFC South and later Titans-specific blogs, also implies that the Titans may have broken multiple COVID-19 protocols prior to their massive coronavirus outbreak last week. The report has been confirmed by a local Nashville TV station.

“National reports say the NFL is also looking at the Titans for violations of mask usage in their facility,” wrote Kuharsky. “ESPN has reported players may have failed to report symptoms and Shane Bowen, who appears to be the first case at the start of the outbreak, may have failed to report contact with a person with COVID-19.”

Those national reports he is referencing can be distilled by this tweet from Albert Breer of The MMQB.

“As part of Monday’s conference call with HCs and GMs, the NFL showed the group pictures of Titans players breaking protocol by not wearing masks in the team facility.”

In a separate tweet, Breer called the gathering “understandable” because players had to remain ready to play while “not knowing when their next game” was scheduled.

If true, the Titans and individual players could face fines, the loss of draft picks, or even the forfeiting of a game or games as the NFL tries to control their first major outbreak of the coronavirus. (Judy Battista of and NFL Network says no one has discussed a forfeit at this point.)

When two more Titans returned COVID-positive tests on Wednesday, October 7th, despite it being more than eight days since the facility shut down in late September, murmurs of a Titans gathering outside of the facility began to start. People typically test positive for the coronavirus 3-7 days after exposure, though it can be up to ten days after first exposure.

The Titans’ Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has already been postponed, but with no more bye weeks on their schedule, it’s unclear what’s going to happen to their Week 5 game against the Buffalo Bills currently scheduled for this weekend.