The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs thought they had gotten past Week 5 without any major problems, but it appears both teams could be on the brink of a COVID-19 outbreak. When Cam Newton and Jordan Ta'amu tested positive for the coronavirus this past weekend, the NFL rescheduled the Patriots-Chiefs matchup for Monday and made every player on those teams undergo additional testing. After those initial tests came back negative, the league thought they had put this potential problem behind them, but then received troubling news on Wednesday morning.
A day after the Patriots placed practice-squad defensive lineman Bill Murray on the COVID reserve list, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the team's All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore had also tested positive for the virus, prompting the team to cancel Wednesday's practice. While this is worrisome for the Patriots, it's also worrisome for the Chiefs. More specifically, it might be worrisome for arguably the best player in the NFL.
After the Chiefs' 26-10 victory over the Patriots, Gilmore was seen being in close contact with quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Put Mahomes in a hermetically sealed bubble please pic.twitter.com/LK62mS3Ei3— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 7, 2020
After the news broke this morning, Mahomes was asked if he was worried about his health during his media availability.
"You just have to trust in the protocols that are set in place," Mahomes said during his press conference, which was shown on ESPN's "SportsCenter." "Obviously knowing that I went up to him after the game and just gave him a high five like I've done my whole career not thinking about it -- it was a little bit of a mental lapse, just trying to show sportsmanship and stuff like that. But I feel like the protocols in place are good and I just have to trust in that, wear my mask, do whatever Rick and them say and then just trust in -- we don't all know what's happening in this world at this time, but just accepting the challenge every single day of being in the best place I can be to be available for the team."
Gilmore's positive test, which surfaced the same day the Tennessee Titans reportedly confirmed two additional positive COVID tests among their players, suddenly puts the Patriots' Sunday matchup with the Denver Broncos in jeopardy. While the NFL has been able to work through multiple game postponements and even a cancellation thus far, the reigning Super Bowl MVP testing positive for the coronavirus would be a whole different issue for the league. Hopefully they don't have to face that problem.