Multiple NFL teams are altering or canceling their football activities on Sunday after results from Saturday’s COVID-19 testing from a laboratory in New Jersey returned positive results.
“Saturday’s daily COVID testing returned several positives tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey,” the NFL said in a statement, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. “We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests. Clubs are taking immediate precautionary measures as outlined in the NFL-NFLPA’s health and safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolation of individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, where appropriate. The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results.”
According to The MMQB’s Albert Breer, 10 or 11 teams were impacted by the testing issue, with some of the teams having double-digit positive tests.
The Browns are shutting down activities on Sunday as a result of the testing results.
“After consistently receiving encouraging results from daily testing since returning to the facility in July, the Cleveland Browns’ COVID-19 testing process conducted yesterday initially indicates multiple individual presumptive positive cases that include players, coaches and support staff,” the team said in a statement Sunday. “Although, we have received indication from the NFL that they are investigating irregularities in lab results that have also impacted other clubs, out of an abundance of caution, we will immediately follow our comprehensive Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan and pause any activity in our building today and conduct meetings virtually.”
The Chicago Bears are another team impacted.
The club released a statement on Sunday morning, saying, “This morning we learned yesterday’s COVID-19 testing identified nine players/staff as positive. We followed additional NFL-NFLPA testing protocol and confirmed all nine results as false positives. Out of an abundance of caution, we postponed this morning’s practice to this afternoon at 1:30 p.m.”
According to Breer, Jets head coach Adam Gase told local reporters Sunday that the team had to cancel its walkthrough last night due to the testing issue. Gase said the team had 10 positives.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said in a statement Sunday that the team had six players absent from practice to COVID-19 protocols on Saturday. “None of those players were required to be placed on Reserve/COVID-19 and will be returning to meetings today and practice on Monday.”
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said the club had eight players, one coach and three staffers test presumptive positive.
Bills GM Brandon Beane said they are one of the teams impacted and that the club will be missing a few players at practice today due to a lab issue with COVID-19 testing.
Breer reports the Patriots were another team impacted by the issue.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano noted this past week that as of Thursday evening there were just five players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, which is not only created for players who have tested positive, but also for those who have shown symptoms or come into contact with people who have tested positive or exhibited symptoms.
The league’s daily-testing window was recently extended until Sept. 5, after it was initially expected to last only the first two weeks of training camp unless positive test rates were over 5%.
ESPN reports that the NFLPA might push for daily testing to be extended into the regular season as well.