The Titans Week 4 matchup against the Buffalo Bills could be in jeopardy
16 members of the Tennessee Titans organization have now tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first real test for the NFL in dealing with the virus in-season. The Titans game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was moved to Week 7 earlier this week, with the goal being that the team would be able to play their Week 4 matchup against the Bills in a week-plus. If the team — and by default the shield — can’t control the spread of COVID-19 amongst the players and organization, then the Titans will have no choice but to continue to suspend all activities until further notice.
It’s not surprising that COVID-19 has spread in an NFL locker room. What remains to be seen, however, is if the NFL can limit that spread to just one team. The Vikings have already tested negative and have been given the go-ahead to play in their game this week against the Houston Texans. Minnesota faced Tennessee last week.
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In similar fashion to MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins, the Titans are forced to fall behind their fellow NFL franchises in both preparation and gameplay. Containing the spread of COVID-19 is an internal issue, and if the league can limit that spread to just one time, they’d consider it a small victory.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel insists that the team has followed the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol, and will continue to do so during the outbreak.
“When we get the results early in the morning, Todd [Toriscelli] and his staff and Adrian [Dixon] begin the contact tracing; they do the follow-up testing, and then we proceed from there with the protocol as it relates to any of the positives that would come up,” Vrabel said, per ESPN. “There’s a POC test which happens; and again, very confident that we’ve followed the guidelines with the protocol that the league and the players’ association have set forth as it relates to identifying those persons of close contact by using the tracing devices.”
This may not be the last of the positive test results the Titans receive, but it appears as though they’re doing their best to contain the spread of the virus. Their return to the football field remains a mystery at this juncture.