The NFL might have its first COVID-19 outbreak on its hands.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday morning eight members of the Tennessee Titans -- three players and five staff -- tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The Titans shut down their facility, and it may stay closed for a number of days, potentially impacting Tennessee's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend:
The Minnesota Vikings, who lost to the Titans on Sunday, also shut down their facility Tuesday morning. The Vikings have not had any positive tests, per ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
The Titans have no reason to believe their cases are false positives, according to the Washington Post’s Mark Maske.
Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell became the first player to miss a game in 2020 after being placed on the league's reserve/COVID-19 list. He reportedly received a positive test Saturday morning, but no other Falcons tested positive ahead of Sunday's game against the Bears, allowing it to move forward as scheduled.
"We found out yesterday just like everybody else and I told the team literally the second that that came out because that helped me," coach Matt Nagy said of Terrell's positive test. "It backs me up when I tell them to wear your mask everywhere you go. In the facility, wear your stinking mask. It's not hard.
"Do it but don't get relaxed on it because this stuff can happen and is real and all of the sudden you're told you can't play or you can't coach. So I'm currently at a point where I feel weird when I'm not wearing my mask like right now, you know, but that's real. I mean, that's where we're at. And it's too important and losing one guy and I think we all learn from this. And it's a wakeup call that you've got to stay on this thing."
How the NFL handles a potential COVID-related postponement will be closely watched this week. There's some shuffling that could be done between the Titans, Steelers and Ravens to minimize the scheduling impact.
But the Bears should keep a close eye on what the NFL does, seeing as they're scheduled to play the Titans in Week 9 at home. The Bears will also play the Vikings twice, in Weeks 10 and 15.