The National Football League reported Thursday yet another Tennessee Titans football player has tested positive for COVID-19, raising questions about their game scheduled for Sunday in Nashville.
The latest positive test brings the total to 23 positive COVID-19 tests among players and staff for the Tennessee franchise, and 21 of those positive cases have come since Sept. 29, two days after the Titans game with the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. The team facility has been closed since that time.
The team had gone two consecutive days without a positive test before two more tests came back positive Wednesday. A third day would have allowed them to return to their team facility in Nashville, under league rules.
The outbreak has already led to the postponement of the Titans' scheduled game last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers to the seventh week of the season. NFL sources say their game Sunday with the Buffalo Bills in Nashville is currently is being evaluated.
Some current and former players took to social media Thursday calling for the Titans to be forced to forfeit a game as punishment for their “irresponsible” behavior in allowing the virus to spread.
On Wednesday, the New England Patriots had to cancel practice at the team’s headquarters in Foxborough, Massachusetts, after defensive player Stephen Gilmore became the third player on that team to test positive for COVID-19.
Quarterback Cam Newton tested positive Saturday and is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and the Patriots placed a defensive tackle from the practice squad on that list Tuesday. The NFL says the Patriots have reported no new cases as of Thursday.
Gilmore, last year’s NFL defensive player of the year, participated in a game Monday between the Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City. The Chiefs reported no positive cases since that game and have been allowed to practice.
Under NFL protocols, players are required to wear protective equipment, including the mandatory use of masks and other gear during practice.