Two days after the New England Patriots’ makeshift Monday night matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, another member of the team’s roster reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was the team’s second active roster player to test positive for the coronavirus, a few days after it was announced that quarterback Cam Newton had recorded a positive test result on Friday.
Bill Murray, a defensive lineman on the team’s practice squad, was also placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, marking three different players at the Patriots’ facilities that tested positive for COVID-19.
As a result, the team canceled its practice for October 7 ahead of a scheduled Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos, and also postponed head coach Bill Belichick’s press conference, initially scheduled for 8:30 a.m. ET.
Meanwhile, more positive tests popped up throughout the league, including a first for the Las Vegas Raiders, and more for the Tennessee Titans amid their own outbreak.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that two additional Titans players tested positive for COVID-19, with the news breaking on the day the team was scheduled to return to its facilities after an immediate bye week the weekend prior.
A slew of positive tests forced the NFL to postpone the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to a later date, and could now impact the team’s Week 5 matchup against the Buffalo Bills in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are preparing for a divisional battle against the Chiefs, a team that may have their own positive COVID-19 test results to deal with based on the fact that they played the Patriots on Monday night.
Rounding out the vicious circle, the Raiders played the Bills in a close, 30-23 loss just a few days prior to the positive COVID-19 result, and could impact Buffalo’s roster in the long run, as well.
Amid the fallout from all of the new positive tests, and the decision made by the league to get the Patriots-Chiefs game in the same week it was scheduled for, the NFL has reached a potential tipping point.
Does the league push forward and continue to hope that positive tests are just outliers? Or, are they now forced to completely update their protocols related to COVID-19, and potentially shut down the season, either temporarily or permanently, to figure it all out?