According to a report from Titans beat reporter Paul Kuharsky, the Tennessee Titans broke the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol one week ago, gathering for a small group workout at Montgomery Bell Academy on Sept. 30.
Kuharsky reports a source told him several Titans players were practicing during the day while students were in class and that quarterback Ryan Tannehill was one of the players on campus.
Titans guard Rodger Saffold all but admitted the team’s guilt on Wednesday afternoon, tweeting: “Guys just don’t work out for fun this is for their lively hood, their family, their opportunity. Say what you want but I’m standing up for my team always.”
MMQB senior NFL writer Albert Breer also reported on Wednesday that the NFL showed photos of Titans players violating protocol by not wearing masks in the team facility on a conference call with head coaches and general managers. The league also showed photos of the Las Vegas Raiders players at a charity event, also not wearing masks.
Because the Titans’ gathering happened on Sept. 30 and the NFL didn’t mandate that games will be forfeited as a result of breaking COVID protocol until Oct. 6, the league is not expected to retroactively punish the Titans via forfeiture of Sunday’s game against the Bills. However, the Titans are expected to face steep fines and possibly a loss of draft picks as a result of the off-site workout.
After the NFL rescheduled Tennessee’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters on Oct. 1 that he informed his players they were not to gather outside of the team facility in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus and to get back into the building quicker.
“We've asked our players, in light of the recent tests, to not gather whether that's a league protocol or us asking them so that we can just avoid close contacts, and that we can try to work through this and get back into the building to prepare for Buffalo as quickly as possible,” Vrabel said.
The Titans were already under investigation by the NFL for not wearing masks in their team facility and for failure to report symptoms. Outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen, who was the first member of the Titans to test positive last Saturday, is also under investigation for not reporting he was exposed to someone who had COVID-19.
(Editor's note: This is a developing story and will be updated as information becomes available.)
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_