FOX News- UPDATE: Two more Tennessee Titans players tested positive for the coronavirus as the NFL and the NFLPA agreed to expand daily testing and tighten the health and safety protocols, according to multiple reports.
ESPN reported Friday that two players had tested positive for the coronavirus. Several Titans players and personnel had tested positive throughout the week and the league was forced to postpone their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to an undetermined time.
The latest report came as the NFL and the NFLPA agreed to tighten rules regarding the coronavirus, the NFL Network reported, citing a league memo.
Daily testing was extended until further notice except on game days. Players and coaches are barred from leaving their cities on bye weeks. A first missed test will result in a $50,000 fine, a second missed test will subject players to a one-game suspension and a third missed test could have players facing a long suspension.
The Titans’ outbreak is the first in the NFL this season, which many thought was inevitable.
On Thursday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was asked by reporters on his thoughts if that situation were to play out. The Steelers head coach answered with a typical Tomlin response of: “We do not care.”
If indeed the Steelers do play 13 straight weeks, it shouldn’t be viewed as a big deal.
Prior to the bye week’s arrival in 1990, all teams played 16 games over 16 weeks. From 1999 until 2001, the NFL only had 31 teams, which means each year there was a team that had a Week 1 bye week, and another that had a Week 17 bye. Both teams would have played 16 straight games as well.
There will likely be more coronavirus outbreaks in the NFL in the near future, which means the league will need to continue to adjust its schedule moving forward.
The NFL announced Wednesday that Sunday’s game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers is postponed after at least nine members of the Titans tested positive for coronavirus, marking the league’s first breakout since the season began Sept. 10.