For the second time this year, it appears the NFL may have avoided a potential major COVID-19 outbreak. On Tuesday, it was reported that the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings would have to undergo additional COVID-19 testing due to three players and five staff members of the Titans testing positive. While the league braced for potentially bad news, the results of the second round of testing were good. According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, just one more Titans player learned early Wednesday morning that he tested positive during Tuesday's round of COVID-19 testing. All other tests for both the Titans and the Vikings came back negative.
The Titans were forced to shut down in-person club activities on Tuesday due to their mini-outbreak, as were the Vikings, since they hosted Tennessee on Sunday. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to team presidents and executives, saying that the players and staff members who had tested positive were being isolated and carefully monitored. The league also reviewed contact tracing data, which included members who worked the game in Minnesota last Sunday as well as the officials from the matchup.
Defensive lineman DaQuan Jones and long snapper Beau Brinkley from the Titans' 53-man roster were added to the COVID-19 list on Tuesday, along with tight end Tommy Hudson from the team's practice squad, according to the team. On Monday, head coach Mike Vrabel also said that outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen did not travel with the Titans to Minneapolis for Sunday's game due to COVID-19 testing protocols.
All things considered, this was good news for the league, and it appears Minnesota could be given the green light soon to return to the team facilities and continue to prepare for the Houston Texans. As for the Titans' Week 4 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL announced Wednesday that the matchup would be postponed and likely rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday.
This is the second instance the league has had to deal with a potential outbreak, as back in August, a total of 77 positive tests for COVID-19 came back to 11 teams. After further review, it was concluded that these were false positive tests, and all of the original tests were rerun with each sample coming back negative for the coronavirus. Jon R. Cohen, M.D., the Executive Chairman of BioReference Laboratories, the testing partner of the NFL, released a statement explaining that these false-positives were due to an isolated contamination in the New Jersey lab.