At a time when off-campus parties throughout the country are spreading the coronavirus to college students and student-athletes, it likely was inevitable that an NFL player would be present at one of them.
Paul Kuharsky reports that Titans tackle Isaiah Wilson, the team’s first-round pick in the 2020 draft, recently received a trespass warning from Tennessee State from Tennessee State police after attending a party in TSU off-campus apartments.
Per the report, Wilson considered jumping from a second-story balcony to evade campus law-enforcement officials before accepting the consequences for his decision to engage in the kind of activities that could introduce COVID-19 to the facilities of his team.
“We’re aware of the situation at TSU during a no-visitors policy and continue to stress the importance of good decision making as we go outside the facility,” coach Mike Vrabel said, via Kuharsky.
“We’ve handled it internally,” G.M. Jon Robinson said.
If Wilson were a bottom-of-the-roster player, he likely would have experienced the same type of swift and unrelenting justice visited upon former Seahawks rookie Kemah Siverand, who was caught trying to bring a woman dressed in Seahawks gear into the team hotel. Wilson’s draft status undoubtedly saved his job, even though his behavior put the entire roster in jeopardy of catching the virus.
Another person at the party identified himself as Titans running back Darrynton Evans, a third-round pick in 2020 from Appalachian State. According to Kuharsky, campus police did not secure official identification from the man who claimed to be Evans. His agent denied that Evans was present.
“It was categorically not Darryton,” agent Michael Parrett told Kuharsky. “If you know anything about Darryton, his mom had COVID, he’s lost a couple of family members to it. He’s taking this very seriously, he’s following things to a ‘T’. He was in his hotel. He talked to Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel, they asked him point-blank. It’s unfortunate someone has brought his name into it. Darryton was not there.”
Because the total number of people present at the Tennessee State off-campus party isn’t known, it’s also unknown whether Wilson violated the NFL-NFLPA prohibition against attending house parties with more than 15 people present. Still, the behavior itself shows that, despite the unexpected success that the NFL’s 32 franchises have experienced when it comes to minimizing the total number of infections (only five players in the entire league currently are on the COVID-19 reserve list), the risk that a player, especially a younger one like the 21-year-old Wilson, will potentially exposed himself to the virus while not at work lingers.