The Patriots and other teams added players to their covid-19 reserve lists as the day progressed, and the NFL’s belief that all of Sunday’s games can be played as scheduled was pending the results of another round of testing.
The Patriots’ game against the Denver Broncos in Foxborough, Mass., remains scheduled for Sunday. That game already had been pushed back by a week because of positive tests on the Patriots. The Broncos announced Saturday that an assistant coach tested positive and would not accompany the team on its trip.
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced they were working remotely Saturday after receiving a positive test result for a practice squad player. The Jaguars said they plan to play Sunday’s game against the visiting Detroit Lions as scheduled.
The reopening of the Patriots’ facility and their test results were confirmed by a person familiar with the situation. The Patriots worked remotely Friday after receiving one new positive test result.
The Patriots reportedly placed running back Sony Michel, guard Shaq Mason and defensive end Derek Rivers on their covid-19 reserve list. That list is for players who test positive for the coronavirus or who are found through contact tracing to have been exposed to the virus. The Patriots previously placed offensive lineman James Ferentz on the list.
Quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore participated in the Patriots’ practice Thursday after being activated from the covid-19 reserve list. Newton tested positive, according to a person familiar with the result, and missed an Oct. 5 game at Kansas City. Gilmore confirmed two days after that game that he tested positive.
The Patriots-Broncos game was postponed from last Sunday because of the Patriots’ positive tests. That necessitated other schedule changes because the Broncos originally had been scheduled to play the Miami Dolphins this Sunday. NFL officials said this week they will consider adding an 18th week to the regular season but only if all games cannot be played in the current 17-week framework.
The Broncos said they learned of the positive test by running backs coach Curtis Modkins early Saturday morning. Modkins was isolating at his home and was asymptomatic, according to the team. The Broncos said they had evaluated close contacts and performed additional point-of-care testing, with no positive results, of those found through contact tracing to have been exposed to the virus.
“The Broncos remain in regular communication with the league office, NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills and team medical staff,” the team said in a statement. “We will take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our team, opponents and community.”
The Jaguars said they became aware Friday night of their positive test and, after it was confirmed, the player self-isolated while the team and the league conducted contact tracing. The Jaguars called the decision to work remotely Saturday “a precautionary measure.”
The NFL has allowed teams in some instances to play games after a single positive test if there is no evidence of widespread transmission of the virus. League officials have said the NFL has seen no evidence of on-field transmission.
“The health and safety of our players, coaches and staff, as well as their families, is our top priority,” the Jaguars said in a statement Saturday morning. “We will continue to provide updates when they are available. We plan to play tomorrow’s game as scheduled.”
The Jaguars placed defensive end Josh Mauro and 12 members of their practice squad on their covid-19 reserve list, the team announced later Saturday.
Teams dealt with a number of coronavirus-related disruptions in recent days. The Indianapolis Colts reopened their facility Friday afternoon after it was closed that morning for four initially positive test results that, according to the team, came back negative upon retesting. The Colts are scheduled to host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
The Atlanta Falcons reopened their facility Friday and are scheduled to play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis. The Falcons had closed their facility Thursday after a new positive test result. The Falcons announced Saturday they were placing defensive lineman John Cominsky on their covid-19 reserve list.
The Baltimore Ravens placed defensive tackle Brandon Williams on their covid-19 reserve list Saturday, the team announced. The Ravens play Sunday at Philadelphia.