NFL players are tested every day. Unless they aren’t.
As multiple sources have explained it to PFT, players are not tested on game days — at all.
There’s no off-site PCR test that would generate results later than day, and there’s no on-site, point-of-care testing. There’s nothing.
This reality expands the COVID donut hole with which the league already is dealing. With no samples collected between Saturday and Monday (for Sunday games), 48 hours pass without taking a snapshot of any kind as to whether someone has flipped from negative to positive.
On Mondays, players do drive-through testing and don’t enter the building — unless they need treatment. However, plenty of players need day-after-game treatment, which puts more than a few players in the building with a two-day window of no testing at all and no idea until later that night or the next morning as to whether anyone who was negative on Saturday turned positive between Saturday and Monday.
Whatever the reason and whatever the cause, it’s another reason for teams to be leery about the league’s position that, if they simply follow all protocols, everything will be fine. The lack of game-day testing potentially puts players and others who have the virus around others on the day of the game and the next day, until the results of day-after PCR testing arrive.
That said, the Patriots had PCR sample collected early Monday, given the possibility that players who were in close contact with Cam Newton could end up having positive results. The positive ultimately wasn’t generated until Tuesday, when cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive.