When it was announced that quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) Saturday, there was a mad scramble for the NFL and the New England Patriots. The team was supposed to fly out to Kansas City that afternoon but was called back. Instead, the Patriots cautiously flew out Sunday with two different planes. When they got to Kansas City, the Patriots reportedly asked for one simple request and were denied by the NFL.
Three Patriots players have been affected by COVID-19
Cam Newton was the first player on the New England Patriots to test positive for COVID-19. That happened either late Friday night or Saturday morning. The team was set to travel Saturday at 1 p.m for their late-Sunday afternoon game with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The game was pushed back to Monday night and Newton was left back home as the teams played with Kansas City winning 26-10. On Wednesday morning, it was announced that New England’s top defensive player, Stephon Gilmore, also tested positive for the virus. Practice-squad player Bill Murray was also placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.
Players who are placed on the list haven’t necessarily tested positive. They may have, but they may be placed on the list after having come into contact with someone who has tested positive. Since Gilmore’s positive result, no other Patriots player or member of the organization has tested positive.
The Patriots scrambled to get to Kansas City on Monday
After Cam Newton tested positive, all members of the Patriots organization were tested Saturday and Sunday mornings with no new positive tests. The team then flew out to Kansas City on Monday morning for their 7 p.m. meeting with the Chiefs that same night.
The Patriots went to extremes during their travel plans. They took two planes en route to Kansas City. One plane was for those members of the team who may have come into close contact with Newton. All others boarded another plane.
New England played the game with veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer as the starter. He struggled mightily and was eventually replaced by Jarrett Stidham. Stidham didn’t fare a whole lot better either as the team finished with 10 points. It wasn’t a highlight-reel performance by any means, but the team had just flown in to play a game that probably shouldn’t have been played.
The Patriots simply asked for more locker room space
The New England Patriots were ultra-cautious when flying out to Kansas City. They went out of their way to separate players during the flight by using two different planes. If anyone had come into contact with Cam Newton, who had just tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, they went on one plane. All others went on a different plane.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, when the Patriots arrived they had asked the NFL for more locker room space. Kansas City’s visiting locker room is very small compared to others. Florio estimated the visiting room is roughly 1,000 square feet. That doesn’t leave a who lot of elbow room when you have roughly 70 people in there.
Florio said the team asked for extra space and, per a league source, the request was denied. The Patriots, after taking the necessary precautions to travel to Kansas City, were forced to use the very cramped locker room. For what it’s worth, the next day, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive for the virus.