Tennessee suspended in-person activities through Friday after the NFL said three Titans players and five other personnel tested positive for the coronavirus. The news means the NFL has its first Covid-19 outbreak since the start of the season.
The outbreak threatened to jeopardize the Titans’ game this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers although ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the league still wants to go ahead with the match-up, possibly moving it to Monday night.
NFL wants to and intends to play the Titans-Steelers game as scheduled Sunday; one of the contingency plans to allow for additional testing and contact tracing to occur would be to move the game to Monday night, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 29, 2020
The NFL issued a statement Tuesday saying both the Titans and Minnesota Vikings suspended in-person activities Tuesday following the test results. The Titans beat the Vikings 31-30 in Minneapolis last weekend.
“Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA, including our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments,” the NFL said.
The Vikings released a statement saying they had not received any positive results from their testing after Sunday’s game against the Titans. They also said they followed NFL protocol by closing their facility immediately and were working to determine when they can reopen.
The Titans are scheduled to host the Steelers on Sunday in a matchup of two of the league’s seven remaining undefeated teams. With the Titans not able to practice until Saturday at the earliest, when that game would be played is unknown.
“All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration,” the NFL said. “We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available.”
Spokesman Burt Lauten said the Steelers have been in contact with the NFL about the Titans’ positive tests.
“We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday’s game until we are informed otherwise,” Lauten said in a statement.
The Titans initially announced Tuesday morning that they would be working remotely “out of an abundance of caution” after several test results came back positive. They beat the Vikings in Minneapolis without outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen, who did not travel with the Titans following a test result on Saturday.
Coach Mike Vrabel said Monday that Bowen was not with the team. Rookie offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson, their top draft pick out of Georgia, also has been on the reserve/Covid-19 list since 6 September.