BY GRACE CARLO, guest writer
It was only a matter of time before a large COVID-19 outbreak affected the regular NFL season.
During its fourth week, the Tennessee Titans suffered with its large number of positive tests resulting in the need to push back its game to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Last week, the team had over 16 positive cases, resulting in the postponement of its game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Players who tested positive on the Titans include wide receiver Adam Humphries, practice squad receiver Cameron Batson, nose tackle DaQuan Jones, linebacker Kamalei Correa, cornerback Kristian Fulton, long-snapper Beau Brinkley, practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson and defensive end Jeffery Simmons.
The Titans had a total of eight players and eight staff members test positive at the same time, causing the cancellation of the upcoming game.
Coach Mike Vrabel told ESPN that some players who tested positive were experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Last Thursday, the NFL announced that the Titans’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers would no longer be played during Week four due to the abundance of positive COVID-19 cases.
The team’s outbreak resulted in the need for the game to be pushed back, and the Titans are now scheduled to play the Steelers in Week seven.
Since last week’s outbreak, it seemed like the tables have turned as NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that “the Tennessee Titans had zero positive COVID-19 results from Sunday’s round of testing.”. The team had planned to return this weekend having zero positive cases.
A statement was released on Tuesday, saying the league adjusted protocols with emphasis on new safety measures. New video monitoring was implemented to ensure that all protocols and policies would be followed, including the required usage of personal protective equipment.
According to the NFL website, “The NFL threatened forfeiture of games if a team is unable to play due to a COVID-19 outbreak caused by failing to follow protocol.”
However, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday morning that two Titans players tested positive for COVID-19, setting the program back on hold and putting this weekend’s game in jeoopardy.
In other news, New England Patriots Quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, postponing the Patriots’ matchup against them. However, Newton was asymptomatic and is hopeful to return later this week.
His Patriots teammate, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, also tested positive on Wednesday.
The NFL has been steady with the amount of positive test results obtained, as Titans has been the largest overall outbreak yet.
Despite this, there is hope that all 32 teams will remain healthy throughout the rest of the season without having to use a bubble.
The Titans currently have a 3-0 record and are scheduled to play this coming Sunday at home against the Bills.