NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NFL officially has its first significant coronavirus scare of the season.
On Tuesday, the league announced the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings have suspended in-person activities after several members of the Titans organization tested positive for COVID-19.
The Titans had three new players and five other personnel test positive Tuesday, the NFL said. The Vikings hosted Tennessee on Sunday.
“Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA, including our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments,” the league said. “All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration.”
On Monday, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel revealed that outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen did not travel to Sunday’s game – a 31-30 win – because he tested positive Saturday. The names of the players who tested positive have been made public.
The Titans released a statement Tuesday saying: “Out of the abundance of caution, the organization has decided to work remotely today as we follow NFL protocols related to the Covid-19 virus. Several tests have come back positive and are working through the process of confirming them. We will have more information tomorrow.”
The Vikings released a statement saying they had not received any positive results from their testing after Sunday's game against the Titans. They also said they followed NFL protocol by closing their facility immediately and were working to determine when they can reopen.
It's not clear when the two teams will resume practicing. Tennessee is scheduled to host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, while the Vikings are set to travel to the Houston Texans.
Spokesman Burt Lauten said the Steelers have been in contact with the NFL about the Titans' positive tests.
“We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday’s game until we are informed otherwise,” Lauten said in a statement.
Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward wrote on Twitter that the guys playing the next week now wind up affected.
“This is wild but this is the world we live in now,” Heyward wrote.
At least one member of the Titans knows what he wants this week.
“I just wanna play,” Titans starting left guard Rodger Saffold wrote on Twitter.
Unlike the NBA and NHL, the NFL elected not to place its players in a protective “bubble” this season. Instead, it has been testing all players and team personnel every day except game days. It also has implemented rules against reckless behavior that could result in players becoming infected and passing the virus onto their teammates.
The approach seems to have been effective so far, with only a handful of positive tests being reported in a given week – and many of those have involved non-players.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.