The NFL delayed the New England Patriots' Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs after quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. And while Newton is reportedly now asymptomatic as he looks to return to practice ahead of the team's Sunday showdown with the Denver Broncos, there may not be a practice to return to, after all. A day after the Patriots placed practice-squad defensive lineman Bill Murray on the COVID reserve list, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports the team's All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore has also tested positive for the virus, prompting the team to cancel Wednesday's practice.
Gilmore's initial positive test occurred on Tuesday, per Pelissero, and the Patriots had the star defensive back undergo additional tests to confirm the positive case. According to ProFootballTalk, Gilmore was among players in close contact with Newton, who missed New England's Monday night loss to Kansas City, and traveled back from the game via plane with approximately 20 other people.
Gilmore's positive test, which surfaces the same day the Tennessee Titans reportedly confirmed two additional positive COVID tests among their players, suddenly puts the Patriots' Sunday matchup with Denver in jeopardy. Teams are required to have two consecutive days with no positive tests -- and any positive/exposed players isolated on the COVID reserve list -- in order to keep their facilities open. That means it's possible the Pats could not hold in-person practice again until Saturday, at the earliest, with the Broncos scheduled to visit New England for Sunday's 4:25 p.m. ET matchup.