The Tennessee Titans have eight new COVID cases, three player, five personnel, according to this report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
It’s not known who those players are. The team was without outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen, who calls the defensive players in-game, Sunday against Minnesota after he tested positive for the virus.
Assuming these aren’t false positives (update: they’re confirmed positives), this appears to be the first substantial team outbreak since the regular season began. ESPN’s Dianna Russini took the report a step further, indicating no players or coaches will be allowed in the building until Saturday, one day before the team’s scheduled matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Unless something dramatic changes, it’s hard to imagine the Steelers/Titans game happening as scheduled if Tennessee isn’t able to practice, let alone be able to work inside their facility. It’s unclear what the alternative would be. The teams have different bye weeks. Tennessee is off Week 7, Pittsburgh off Week 8.
One option could be moving Steelers/Ravens Week 7 to Week 8. Pittsburgh and Baltimore have Week 8 byes. Then the Tennessee game could be played Week 7 during the Titans’ scheduled bye week. That would mean the Steelers’ bye would come Week 4 with the Ravens’ during Week 7.
After a predictable surge of cases as teams reported for training camp, NFL COVID cases have been extremely low the past month. Now, the NFL appears to make some difficult choices, just as MLB did in the early going. Only football doesn’t have the luxury of double-headers.
Update (10:41 AM): The league has issued a statement on the Titans’ outbreak of cases.
UPDATE (11:37 AM): The Steelers have released an official statement.
Mike Tomlin’s noon press conference has been postponed until later today.
UPDATE: (3:00 PM): Maybe Monday night?
Closing comments because people do not know how to act.