NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Titans (3-0) are the first NFL team to experience a COVID-19 outbreak this season, postponing their week four matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) until October 25th. The team now waits for the green light to return to St. Thomas Sports Park, and that might not happen until early next week.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN:
On Monday, Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel confirmed that outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen had tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday morning, before the team left for their road game at Minnesota. It seemed to be an isolated case at the time because the Titans traveling party was tested Saturday, and all were negative, leaving everyone eligible for Sunday’s game.
TROUBLE ON TUESDAY:
Tuesday is when the numbers became concerning, with five team personnel and three players testing positive. While Titans staff names haven’t been released, the players included; defensive lineman DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson. That would shutdown the Titans team practice facility until further notice.
On Wednesday, Titans linebacker Kamalei Correa was the latest player to test positive for COVID-19, bringing the number to four players. This would also postpone the Titans-Steelers game to Monday or Tuesday, based on test results.
MAKING IT OFFICIAL:
The NFL officially postponed the week four battle between the Titans and Steelers, after cornerback Kristian Fulton and a personnel member got back positive test results.
GOOD AND BAD NEWS:
While the Titans reported two more positive COVID-19 cases on Friday, they also announced that their game against the Steelers is officially moved to week seven of the NFL season. Tennessee will host Pittsburgh on October 25th at Nissan Stadium, kick off set for Noon.
THE NEXT STEPS:
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said they will continue testing through Monday and the practice facility will remain closed until further notice. Players will continue to participate in virtual meetings and have also been told not to gather in groups for practice in the meantime.
INTO THE WEEKEND:
The outbreak has not been contained yet, after defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total number in the organization to 18 people.
THE SILVER LINING:
With the Titans officially on their bye week, it will give injured players a little extra time to heal. The NFL allows players that are undergoing treatment to be in the building right now, but are required to follow strict protocols. Wide receiver A.J. Brown (knee) is expected to be ready next week, and offensive tackle Taylor Lewan (shoulder) should also be available. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee) is currently on the injured reserve list, but could also make his return to the active roster soon.