The 3-0 Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to play the 3-0 Tennessee Titans in Week 4 in Nashville, and there is a new story line which has now developed prior to the game. The story line would be none other than COVID-19.
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Titans had three players and five new personnel test positive for the coronavirus recently.
The #Titans had three new player positives and five new personnel positives for COVID-19, sources tell me and @MikeGarafolo. Both Titans and Vikings, who hosted them Sunday, will suspend in person club activities starting today.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 29, 2020
So, what now for the Titans? This is where the NFL’s strict protocol, and daily testing, comes into play. The team will continue to test all personnel and players on a daily basis, hoping the cases which came back positive were isolated.
However, per Dianna Russini of ESPN, the league is supposedly shutting down the Titans facility until Saturday.
A league source just texted me: "We are shutting Tennessee down until Saturday"— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) September 29, 2020
That means no Titans coaches or players can be in the building.
What this means for practices, etc. has yet to be determined. And at this point it is safe to say everything is up in the air as it pertains to the game.
The league knew they would have to deal with a potential outbreak at some point during the season, and it seems as if Week 4 was the week they might have to make some tough decisions regarding the upcoming game.
Best case scenario? No other coaches, players or personnel test positive and those who did test positive quarantine for the required amount of time before returning. Worst case scenario? The Titans, and the Minnesota Vikings who they played in Week 3, show more positive cases causing games to be impacted.
This per Adam Schefter of ESPN, from the Titans:
After multiple positive COVID tests in their organization , the Titans are halting in-person work today and made this announcement: pic.twitter.com/2LDjIBgyor— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 29, 2020
This from Brian McCarthy, director of Public Relations for the NFL:
This proves the tests were NOT false positives, but indeed positive results. The next step will be if any other players/personnel test positive.
League source confirms that the Titans' eight positive COVID tests today are CONFIRMED positives. The chance of false positives have been ruled out. So this is the first NFL's first team outbreak— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 29, 2020
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest on this story as it unfolds and impacts the Pittsburgh Steelers.