On Saturday evening, after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ evening practice, head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the media via Zoom and said the team had some players held out of practice for COVID reasons, but added they weren’t being added to the COVID/Reserve List.
This was strange, but most felt it was based solely on Maurkice Pouncey traveling to Florida for a family funeral and possibly being told to quarantine upon his return to western Pennsylvania.
That wasn’t the case.
As was reported on Sunday, the NFL had a rash of positive cases Saturday, but they all stemmed from the same lab in New Jersey. This was a giant red flag for the league, so they pushed the pause button. All players/personnel were held out of team facilities, meetings or practice, and the league had all individuals re-tested.
Monday morning it was reported all 77 tests which were re-run came back negative.
This per Adam Schefter of ESPN:
All 77 tests that were re-run at the lab overnight came back negative, per source. https://t.co/cnCjiH3d3O— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 24, 2020
You could certainly chalk this up as a test-run for the NFL if an outbreak does happen during the season, and thankfully this wasn’t a test-run of actual positive cases throughout the league.
Kudos to the NFL for not jumping to conclusions about the positive tests, but rather they took a step backwards, saw all tests came from the same laboratory and acted accordingly.
Welcome to the NFL in 2020. No one expected this to be smooth sailing, and it seems as if the NFL was able to safely, and wisely, navigate their first hiccup. There will be more, and hopefully the NFL is prepared for anything this unique circumstance can throw at them.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they roll through training camp and prepare for the 2020 regular season.