The coronavirus pandemic has swept the nation, and now it has hit the epicenter of the Philadelphia Eagles. Head coach Doug Pederson informed his team he has tested positive for COVID-19, sharing the news with the team Sunday night. Pederson alerted the team after a second positive test confirmed he had the virus.
Assistant head coach Duce Staley will be acting head coach in Pederson's absence. Pederson will still attempt to conduct Zoom meetings while he's absent, per 6abc Action News. One other staff member who was in close contact with Pederson was also sent home.
The Eagles released a statement on Pederson's positive diagnosis.
"We received confirmation this evening that Head Coach Doug Pederson has tested positive for COVID-19. Pederson is asymptomatic and doing well. He is currently in self-quarantine and in communication with the team's medical staff. The organization is following the protocols established by the NFL and NFLPA.
"Any individuals in close contact with Pederson at our facility have been notified and will continue with daily testing procedures and compliance with all protocols before returning to the facility."
Pederson is the second NFL head coach to test positive for the coronavirus, following New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton -- who contracted the virus in the spring. Pederson is the first to test positive in season.
Since Pederson is asymptomatic, he can return 10 days after his positive test or five days if he tests negative twice. If Pederson does happen to show symptoms during this stretch, he must be away from team facilities for 10+ days since the symptoms first occurred and three days must pass since symptoms last occurred -- per the NFL COVID-19 protocols in place.
"I feel extremely safe," Pederson said on the NFL's COVID-19 testing and protocols earlier in the week. "Coming into it there might have been some skepticism about the testing and the screening that goes on, but this process is very thorough. When you're here, you get tested in the morning -- you got a screening process to go through to get into the building -- wearing masks in the building everywhere we go. I feel extremely safe. This is our bubble, right here at NovaCare (Complex, the Eagles practice facility).
"I can't control everything. We can't control everything. There probably are going to be some things that come up down the road. Right now I feel extremely safe and this is a great environment for our players to succeed in."
Pederson and the Eagles have a plan in place in case of players contract COVID-19, which they are already experiencing days into camp. Lane Johnson, Nathan Gerry, and Jordan Mailata were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the week. Two of these players are starters for the Eagles.
"What the NFL has put in place, the Players Association, the agreement there -- it gives us hope, it gives us excitement moving forward," Pederson said. "We understand the virus is real and we do everything we can in our power to stay safe, protecting ourselves when we're in the building, protecting our players. It's unfortunate what has happened, but we do have a lengthy set of protocols we have to abide by.
"This is our new normal, working in these conditions. It's something we're going to embrace. We're going to make it a positive. It is what it is."