The Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots had no positive COVID-19 tests Saturday, and both teams are getting back into their facilities.
It’ll be the first time since Tuesday for the Patriots to go to work in person and first for the Titans since the NFL closed them down Sept. 29.
“We’re looking forward to having everybody back in the building today,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We’ve gone on several days now without being able to work together as a team, although we’ve had numerous meetings.”
Belichick said the Patriots won’t be making any decisions or long-range plans until they have more information. His plan was to get through Saturday with a practice planned to maximize their time back on a field.
“One thing we’ve learned this year is that we all have to be able to adapt to changes and adjustments and make adjustments, so that’s what we’re going to do,” Belichick said.
The Titans announced plans for coach Mike Vrabel and players to talk to reporters later Saturday before practice, which will be the team’s first time on a field together since beating the Vikings 31-30 in Minnesota on Sept. 27.
Tennessee now has gone without a positive test for the fourth time in six days with the latest results, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Person. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the NFL nor the Titans announced the latest results.
The Patriots had worked remotely the past three days following the positive test for reigning NFL Defensive Player of the year Stephon Gilmore. He joined quarterback Cam Newton on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, and the Patriots also had a defensive tackle from the practice squad on the list.
This keeps the Titans (3-0) on track to host Buffalo (4-0) on Tuesday, with the Patriots hosting Denver on Monday after both games were rescheduled from Sunday. The league already postponed, then rescheduled the Titans’ game with Pittsburgh from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25 during the outbreak.
The question for both the Titans and Patriots will be which, if any, of the players who tested positive will be available for those games. The NFL and the players’ union updated protocols for when players who test positive can return to play, which depends on whether the player ever experienced any symptoms.
Belichick said he doesn’t expect either Newton or Gilmore to practice Saturday. He wouldn’t answer if either would be available Monday night.
“I’m not getting into a bunch of hypotheticals,” Belichick said. “We’re taking it day by day, hour by hour.”
All New York Jets players and coaches tested negative for COVID-19 after their training facility closed Friday because of a presumptive positive coronavirus test for one player. The Jets posted a statement on social media Friday night, and their game Sunday against Arizona will be played on time.
The Titans, who had 23 positive tests with 21 since Sept. 29 in the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak, and the Patriots will be following new protocols from the NFL and its players’ union. That will continue until officials deem the teams are clear of their outbreaks.