NFL: Patriots cancel workout after cornerback tests positive for COVID-19

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 08 2020 09:36 AM

In this file photo taken on September 27, 2020 Stephon Gilmore (24) of the New England Patriots reacts before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer, Getty Images North America/AFP.

NEW YORK -- New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive for Covid-19 after playing against Kansas City, according to multiple reports, prompting the NFL club to cancel a scheduled Wednesday workout.

And the Tennessee Titans' facility remained closed Wednesday after two more players tested positive for the deadly virus, giving the NFL club 13 players on its Covid-19 reserve list.

The NFL and its players association were looking into both situations as games next weekend appeared to be in jeopardy.

"It's critically important we do not grow complacent in our rigorous application of measures proven to be impactful," said NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills.

"Risk mitigation, not elimination, is the key. Our protocols are designed to quickly identify new cases, get individuals the care they need, and prevent further spread of the virus."

The NFL Network, ESPN and the Boston Globe reported Gilmore's positive test, the canceled practice and that practice squad defensive lineman Bill Murray had been put on the Covid-19 reserve list.

The Patriots (2-2), set to entertain Denver (1-3) on Sunday, lost 26-10 at Kansas City on Monday in a game postponed by a day after New England star Cam Newton tested positive for Covid-19.

Tennessee, which already had a game against Pittsburgh postponed to October 25 after an outbreak last week, has a 3-0 record and a home game scheduled Sunday against Buffalo (4-0).

But the Titans haven't worked out in more than a week and were denied the chance Wednesday by the latest virus positives after thinking they would return to their facility following two days without a positive result.

Other teams could see their schedules altered depending on what the NFL decides.

The reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs had no positive tests returned Tuesday after playing Gilmore and New England, but the defensive back was photographed being hugged by Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes after the contest.

"It was a little bit of a mental lapse," Mahomes said Wednesday of hugging Gilmore. "You just have to trust in the protocols and the process in place."

Mahomes also said he has slept in a different bedroom than his pregnant fiancée since finding out last week that a Chiefs practice squad player had tested positive for Covid-19.

The Chiefs were able to practice under NFL protocols but with mandatory use of personal protective equipment, including gloves on all but a quarterback's passing hand.

The Bills and Chiefs also have a small window for any rescheduling or delays. Buffalo is set to play host to Kansas City on October 15.

Gilmore, who has 11 tackles and an interception so far this season, was last year's NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

The Patriots conducted virtual meetings in the wake of practice being called off.

"The virus is still very much a threat not only to our season, but to the safety of everyone in our community," said Dr. Thom Mayer, the NFL Players Association Medical Director.

Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday that his unbeaten squad has had no Covid-19 positives and the club is monitoring the situation in Tennessee.

- 'An uphill battle' -

The NFL instituted tighter virus protocols this week after the Titans produced the first major outbreak of the season, now one-quarter complete.

"We're fighting an uphill battle," McDermott said. "The league took the right steps to increase the protocols. It's necessary because it's only going to get more difficult."

The NFL and players union also announced Covid-19 test results for the past two weeks.

For the period from September 27 to last Saturday, there were 11 positive tests among players and 15 involving other staff personnel, most of that the Titans outbreak and Newton.

There were a total of 37,002 tests given to 7,981 combined players and team personnel, including 14,254 tests to 2,480 players and 22,748 tests to 5,501 personnel.

The prior week saw two positives by players and four from staff from 36,666 tests to 7,778 people -- 14,223 tests to 2,470 players and 22,443 tests to 5,308 other staffers.

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