The NFL sure received a wake-up call this past week after a relatively uneventful first two weeks of playing football in the middle of a pandemic. For Bud Dupree though, it’s business as usual. In an effort to keep himself and his teammates safe, Dupree told reporters he rarely leaves the house other than to go to practice.
“With this situation, the way the world is now, me personally I only go from practice to home and the grocery store if need be,” Dupree said via the team website. “Other than that, it’s kind of like just stay home. Don’t try to do extra like we normally do during the season. Just think about the team first.”
Cornerback Steven Nelson echoed a similar thought.
“I am a family guy, so I just go and be with my family,” Nelson said. “I think that is the easiest way to stay away from everybody and isolate yourself.”
The NFL is aiming to get back on track after their first postponement of the season. Following an outbreak of at least 20 cases between Titans’ play and staff, the league had no choice but to push the game to a later week. Tennessee and Pittsburgh will now play Week 7, sticking the Steelers with an unfortunate early bye.
But Tennessee wasn’t the only story, though they were the biggest. Patriots’ quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID shortly before the team was scheduled to fly into Kansas City. The game will go on tonight, delayed just one day, but Newton will not play. There was a third scare when a Saints’ player tested positive an ensuing retest proved negative. The game was played as scheduled yesterday, New Orleans winning 35-29.
The risk the league is taking was inevitable to rear its ugly head. Unless you have a true bubble like the NHL and NBA, something that would’ve been much more difficult for football to do, you’re always at risk for exposure. All you can hope for is players taking Dupree’s approach. Limiting contact as much as possible to lower risk. It’s certainly far from ideal. Even had the Steelers had their normal bye week, players are required to come to the facility daily for testing. Everyone’s life is disrupted.
But guys like Dupree have their job and get to play out the season. Pulling back and staying at home for a few months is a small price to pay in order to mitigate the odds of an outbreak that could jeopardize the team and the season.