Titans clear second major COVID-19 obstacle, could potentially reopen facility to prepare for Week 5 vs. Bills

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens
Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports

There has been nothing but bad news coming out of Nashville over the past week, but that all changed on Monday. It was the first day in seven in which the Tennessee Titans revealed no additional positive results for COVID-19, clearing their first major hurdle in their pursuit to reopen their team facility and prepare for the Week 5 battle with the Buffalo Bills. Before they’d potentially receive a green light from both the NFL and the NFLPA to do so, however, they’d need to have a second consecutive day of no positive results, and it appears they’ve achieved that goal.

On Tuesday, the Titans again reported no positives for COVID-19 — per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network —  something that is sure to please league and player association investigators, who descended upon Nashville last week to both probe for possible protocol violations and to oversee the cleaning of the facility. The Titans were forced to close shop after several players and coaches tested positive, and haven’t been allowed in the building since. Overall, the team had 18 positive tests over the previous six days leading into Monday, but have a shot at practicing as early as Wednesday. 

This is also good news for the Bills, who are waiting with bated breath to find out if the game will be played as scheduled. The NFL has already been forced to reschedule the Titans matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, originally scheduled for Week 4, moving the contest to Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. on CBS, and moving the Baltimore Ravens Week 8 bye to Week 7 to accommodate the move — seeing as the Ravens will now face the Steelers in Week 8.

This meant, essentially, both the Titans and Steelers were forced into a bye last week.

As it stands, it doesn’t appear such a drastic move will be required for a second consecutive week, but this all serves as a very real reminder to the league of just how tenuous the 2020 regular season is under the threat of the novel coronavirus. They received yet another when Cam Newton tested positive last weekend, forcing a one-day pushback on the New England Patriots meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs, and sidelining the former league MVP in the process. Scathing memos have been sent to all 32 clubs reminding them of severe consequences if they’re found to be in violation of COVID-19 protocols — something Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a vehement proponent of — but it’s not yet been determined if the Titans will be penalized.

For now, they’re just thrilled to know they have a good chance to play football again.

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