Welp. That was fun while it lasted. There is some bad news coming out of the Titans camp this morning.
Two new positive tests for Titans this morning, per source. Their facility will not reopen today.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) October 7, 2020
After two straight days without a “new” positive test, a Titans player has tested positive for Covid-19. The Titans had a chance to reopen their facility this morning, seeing as the NFL requires teams to report at least two straight days of no positive tests before allowing them to get back to work.
Just when we thought the Titans were in the clear, they suffered a serious setback this morning. All of a sudden, this weekend’s game against the Bills is very much in jeopardy. In fact, I’d say it’s more likely to get canceled than it is to be played at this point.
The Titans almost certainly won’t be allowed back in their building before Saturday at the absolute earliest, and that’s if they get nothing but good news from here on out.
This is where things get interesting. The Bills are playing the Chiefs on Thursday night during Week 6, which means the NFL will not be able to reschedule Titans-Bills for this coming Monday or Tuesday. Pushing a game back a day or two has been a popular solution for the NFL in dealing with these outbreaks, but they will NOT have that option for this Titans-Bills game.
The Titans have also obviously had their bye week already when their Week 4 game against the Steelers had to be moved to Week 7.
This leaves the NFL with very few options. This game will either be played as scheduled (unlikely), canceled altogether (a Titans forfeit?) or perhaps the regular season will be extended to a Week 18/19 in order to allow for “makeup” games. Surely other teams would eventually benefit from that. The New England Patriots are in the early part of what it appears to be another outbreak (3 confirmed cases and counting).
You may be thinking to yourself that a forfeit is out of the question. Not necessarily, especially if the league finds that the Titans were in violation of the protocols. This piece of news came out this morning, and it’s certainly worth monitoring:
Part of the investigation by NFL and NFLPA into Titans' compliance with protocols concerns whether or not some Tennessee players gathered away from the facility for unauthorized workouts over the past week after the Titans had been told to have no such gatherings, source says.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) October 7, 2020
If the NFL finds that certain Titans players were getting together privately throughout this outbreak, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that they are forced to forfeit this Sunday’s game as punishment. If not, surely some player fines or even loss of draft picks are coming if this proves to be the case.
With that said, the NFL has also made some changes to their protocols since their investigation of the Titans outbreak. That sounds more like admission of some poor protocols than it does a rule-breaking organization, but who knows at this point. Everything is on the table.
We can’t assume anything right now. We’ll just continue to wait and see what comes next, but this is obviously terrible news and a major setback.
The Titans currently have 10 players (including two practice squad members) on the Covid-19/Reserve List. The players are Jeffery Simmons, Khari Blasingame, DaQuan Jones, Kristian Fulton, Adam Humphries, Cameron Batson, Kamalei Correa, Beau Brinkley, Tommy Hudson and Greg Mabin.
That number has now grown to 11 based on this morning’s results, and we should find out the identity of the latest player to test positive this afternoon when the transaction wire comes out (around 3:30 PM CT).
In addition to 11 players, 10 staff members have also tested positive, totaling 21 current cases within the organization.
Obviously, our thoughts are with the players and staff members who have contracted the virus, and we wish them all a speedy recovery.