The coronavirus (COVID-19) is continuing its ugly run through the NFL. While another positive test was found within the Tennessee Titans organization Wednesday, another New England Patriots player also tested positive. Stephon Gilmore has now joined quarterback Cam Newton with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, throwing this week’s NFL schedule in disarray.
COVID-19 becoming a major player in the NFL
The NFL had already seen COVID-19 mess around with its Week 4 schedule and Week 5 appears to be in some serious fine-tuning as well. After the Tennessee Titans saw 16 members of their organization test positive for the virus last week, their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers was pushed back to Week 7.
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton also tested positive for the virus Friday. Newton’s diagnosis was made public early Saturday morning and that, too, forced postponement of New England’s late Sunday afternoon game with the Kansas City Chiefs. No other Patriots player tested positive during the next two rounds of testing.
With no additional positive cases at that point, the NFL moved its game with the Kansas City Chiefs to Monday night. According to ESPN, the team took two planes to Kansas City on Monday morning. One plane carried those who may have had the closest interaction with Newton, while the others boarded a different plane.
Stephon Gilmore tests positive for COVID-19
While COVID-19 has crippled much of the Tennessee Titans organization, the New England Patriots have seen their best offensive and best defensive players test positive. Four days after it was announced quarterback Cam Newton was diagnosed with the virus, teammate Stephon Gilmore received the same news Tuesday.
Outside of essential personnel, the New England Patriots have shut down their facility Wednesday, according to ESPN. The team plans to continue to work virtually with the facility closed. For the Patriots, Newton and Gilmore tested positive, and practice-squad player, defensive tackle Bill Murray is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That doesn’t necessarily mean he tested positive but was at least in contact with someone who did test positive.
Gilmore is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Gilmore played in Monday night’s game with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots lost to the Chiefs 26-10.
What’s next for the Patriots and the rest of the NFL?
While it’s still too early to speculate on what will happen in Week 5, Mike Klis, who covers the Denver Broncos, got a message from the league saying, “It’s on. Will let you know if something changes,” regarding Sunday’s game. The Patriots are scheduled to host the Broncos late Sunday afternoon.
Although the league is appearing to be optimistic, there will certainly be more testing done throughout the week. According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, Gilmore was the only New England player to test positive during Tuesday’s round of testing.
As for the Titans, another player tested positive Wednesday, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN. She reported that Sunday’s game between the Bills and Titans in jeopardy. The “Titans were expected to return to their facility today, that can’t happen now,” she tweeted.