It is a season unlike the NFL has ever seen before. With training camp safety protocols and constant player testing in order to ensure the health of all team personnel, what would have been the weekend leading up to Week 1 of the 2020 preseason has players still yet to participate in padded practices in preparation for the upcoming season. Between player opt outs, a new injury designation, and numerous procedures facing team personnel and players, COVID-19 is doing its best to wreak havoc on 2020 training camps across the NFL.
But heading into uncharted territory means making adjustments along the way when unforeseen circumstances arise. With that being said, the NFL has adjusted their COVID-19 testing protocol according to Judy Battista of NFL.com.
NFL has tweaked COVID testing protocol. If player has no known confirmed infection, is asymptomatic but tests positive, he would be given 2 more tests to confirm. If those are negative, would be considered not infected. Comes in wake of Stafford situation.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) August 7, 2020
With players having to undergo three COVID-19 tests before they could begin workouts, there is was bound to have players either test positive or be exposed to someone who had tested positive. In all, the Steelers have placed four players on the new Reserve/COVID-19 List with two of them already being activated. Arrion Springs came off the list this past week only to be released by the team in order to keep their roster down to 80 players. On Friday, James Washington returned from the list in order to join his teammates in training camp. Currently, Justin Layne and Jaylen Samuels are the only Steelers on the list.
Although the exact situation is not known with each player, it is designed to be this way. Whether a player tests positive or was just exposed is strictly their own personal medical business. Why is this such a big deal? Just ask Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Statement from the Detroit Lions pic.twitter.com/3C9jVHGbQV— Detroit Lions (@Lions) August 4, 2020
As stated in the Lions press release, Stafford was on the Reserve/COVID-19 List after a positive test which was later to be deemed a false positive. According to an Instagram post from Stafford‘s wife, him being placed on the list set off a series of events which greatly impacted Stafford’s family and those in which they had been in contact.
The case could be made as to why the NFL did not have a protocol for player receiving a false positive. Hopefully these things simply would never happen. But once it has occurred, coming up with a way for players to get off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List is a wise move in case a false positive would occur at another point.
With well over 2,500 players being tested in the NFL and each having multiple tests, the notion of a false positive occurring is bound to happen. Hopefully now players who could be in such a situation will have a much quicker return both for the sake of their preparation and, more importantly, their family.