The first COVID-19 outbreak in the NFL is officially under investigation.
According to CBS Sports, the NFL and NFL Players Association formally began investigating the Tennessee Titans’ outbreak on Friday. The league is reportedly concerned that breaches of protocol led to the Titans having 10 players and 10 personnel members test positive between Sept. 24 and Oct. 4.
“Make no mistake, this is not an inquiry — it’s an investigation,” a CBS Sports source said. “Was this preventable? Was this manageable? That’s where this is going. It would be fair to say there are some troubling signs on a multitude of levels.”
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora wrote Sunday that there’s an expectation that the investigation will lead to significant penalties, and whether the Titans failed to follow health and safety protocols after the organization’s first positive test.
“Specifically, the investigation is looking to determine if there were any violations of protocol regarding the intake of defensive back Greg Mabin, who was signed to the team’s practice squad on Thursday and would later test positive for COVID-19 two days later,” La Canfora wrote.
The Tennessean’s timeline of the outbreak includes Mabin testing positive on Sept. 24, outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen testing positive on Sept. 26, and eight positive tests on Sept. 29 causing the Titans to close their facilities indefinitely. The Minnesota Vikings, who the Titans beat on Sept. 27, also temporarily closed their facilities but reopened them Wednesday after having no positive tests.
The Vikings played this weekend, but the level of the Titans’ outbreak caused their Oct. 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to be postponed until Oct. 25.
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The NFL’s first real trouble with COVID-19 got deeper when news of New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton’s positive test broke Saturday. The Patriots’ game against the Kansas City Chiefs was postponed until Monday, as all other tests between the teams came back negative. Newton is on the COVID-19 reserve list and won’t play Monday.