As the NFL approaches midseason, a strange sort of rhythm has emerged. Flashes of positive tests in various cities, followed by days of watching and waiting for reports of no new positives or new positives or whatever else is injected into the stream of NFL news, typically every morning by 9:00 a.m. ET.
For today, no news of new positives is good news. All games are on.
One of the new additions to the daily COVID crop report is Denver, a team that became relevant after the news that running backs coach Curtis Modkins tested positive. Although things could change as the incubation period progresses among those who possibly caught it from Modkins, the league’s more stringent approach to removing from action those who had close contact with anyone who tested positive presumably would have captured any players who may have caught it from Modkins.
That said, we’re still only two weeks away from Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore traveling to Kansas City to play a game even though he’d reportedly had dinner with Cam Newton just before Newton learned he’d tested positive. Amid all the various protocols and procedures, it’s still not entirely clear when and how and where a player or coach will be involuntarily removed from the team.
And so the best way to get through this strangest of seasons will be to continue to expected the unexpected, because when you least expect it, expect some key player or coach to be unavailable for a game.
As of today, there’s another wrinkle. For the first time, PCR tests will be conducted on game days. Which means that Monday’s crop report, if it includes any positive tests for players who played on Sunday, will mean that players played while potentially shedding virus onto teammates, opponents, coaches, officials, and anyone else.