NFL “fully expects” to have positive coronavirus cases

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With 90 players on the training camp roster and 65 on the final active roster and practice squad, that’s 2,880 players through Labor Day and 2,080 thereafter throughout the 32-team league. Inevitably, someone will test positive for the coronavirus — and the NFL knows it.

“We fully expect that we will have positive cases,” NFL executive V.P. of communications, public affairs and policy Jeff Miller said during a Tuesday conference call with reporters. “Our challenge is to identify them as quickly as possible and to prevent spread to any other participants.”

He’s right, and this will require robust and repeated testing, ideally on a daily basis and at a minimum whenever anyone reports to a team facility for meetings, practice, travel to games, etc. To intercept positive cases as quickly as possible and to prevent spread through the close quarters inherent to football, the teams will need to know that someone is positive as quickly as possible. The only way to do that is to test, test, and test some more.

The league quietly (for now) believes that testing protocols will be greatly improved and readily available by the time the season rolls around. It will be critical for teams to know who is positive as soon as they are positive, so that they can be kept away from other players, coaches, etc.

Although Miller didn’t say it (and wasn’t asked to address it), the league also will need a procedure for allowing teams to quickly and easily replace players who test positive, whenever and however that may happen. In this regard, a 12-person practice squad attached to a 53-man roster may not be enough to guard against the kind of localized outbreak that could, in theory, leave a team without enough players for a given game.

11 responses to “NFL “fully expects” to have positive coronavirus cases

  1. We all expect some athletes will get it. Some of us will even get it. It will never go away. Cant just shut down the world and peoples dreams and goals because of an illness. If you are scared, then stay in. If you are not scared, have a blast and live life. Easy as that. Here is to the return of sports!

  2. So…. the virus, which can take up to 14 days to show any signs.

    “infected guy” gets to, report to a team facility for meetings,
    practice, travel to games, etc.


  3. jdphx says:
    May 19, 2020 at 4:55 pm
    So…. the virus, which can take up to 14 days to show any signs.

    “infected guy” gets to, report to a team facility for meetings,
    practice, travel to games, etc.

    So, you missed the part where they’d have to constantly be tested?

  4. Test every day. I’ve tested twice since starting to go back to stores, the gym and to visit my mom on Mother’s Day. It’s the only way to know if you are ok to be not be a spreader of something you don’t know you have. We’ll be doing this at games, too, before entry. Teams are essentially honing their ability to administer testing on a small scale today, preparing for the future.

  5. There will be plenty of testing capability in a few months. I know the media narrative will say otherwise, but too much money is at stake not to proceed as safely as possible.

  6. If one guy tests positive he’s quarantined for 2 weeks when he’s no longer a risk to the team. Imagine several get it, including your star QB. Or tour QB, star edge rusher and top DB? Then what? Imagine. Play 10 games one weekend? Put two weeks of weekend games on hold?

    If the average Joe can’t get a test to go to work but whole NFL teams, including non-players, get tested daily there will be hell to pay. Imagine the guys making millions still get paid but Joe can’t go to work for two weeks to pay his bills. I want a season as much as the next guy but the chance this works if the virus isn’t far in our rear view mirror is ludicrous.

  7. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I would of been all in for sports starting again. No that I’m over 70 not so much. So all you young bucks and bucket’s have fun. I will choose to stay home, not because I’m “afraid”. I just know that if I do get sick I most likely will die. It’s called common sense.

  8. The backup QB position should be more important than ever this year.. A team that is a superbowl contender should have a good one regardless but especially this year..

  9. ““infected guy” gets to, report to a team facility for meetings,
    practice, travel to games, etc.


    This has already happened with the New Jersey Nets back before any steps were in place to contain the spread and the outcome was not that bad. Four Nets players became infected, none seriously, and none of the rest of the team and coaching staff or any opposing players caught it. Highly likely with constant testing and other measures in effect that could have been limited to just one player. They NBA played several weeks with the virus being in full swing and other than the Nets there was only one team with a single player who had any cases. And, again, that was pre-social distancing, pre-hand washing, pre-testing.

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