After a flurry of positive COVID-19 tests from the weekend, Sunday’s game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed to either Monday or Tuesday, as announced by the NFL.
The league-issued statement said the postponement was to allow further time for daily COVID-19 testing to ensure the health and safety of players and personnel. The NFL stated details on when the game would be played will be released as soon as possible.
It’s the first game the NFL has postponed since 2017 when the league moved a game between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to Hurricane Irma.
“It’s not an ideal situation, but this is the hand that we’re dealt,” Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “We have to do whatever it takes to get ourselves ready to play. Whenever the league says the game will take place, then we have to be ready to play as soon as we step on that field, no matter what kind of obstacles we have to overcome along the way. So, it’s definitely a different-looking week and a challenging week.”
The Titans placed defensive lineman DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Additionally, five Titans personnel have tested positive for COVID-19 as well.
A fourth Titans player tested positive from Tuesday’s round of testing. Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters on Wednesday that some of the players who tested positive were experiencing flu-like symptoms.
All of the Minnesota Vikings players were tested several times since Sunday; none have returned positive results.
“Nobody is to blame,” Vrabel said. “We’re in a pandemic. Unfortunately, things happen. Jon (Robinson) and I since receiving the protocols in August, we’ve followed those by the letter. We were conscious of everything that we did. This is a very unfortunate situation, but one that we’re confident that we can handle safely with the football team’s best interest in mind.”
Tennessee’s team facility will remain closed until at least Saturday. The Titans have been going through game day preparations virtually in the interim.
While the Titans could be allowed into their team facility earlier, or later, than Saturday, Vrabel said he expects the NFL to allow the Titans proper time to get on-field work and to prepare for the Steelers, who are practicing uninterrupted.
“We are preparing to play the football game now earliest as Monday,” Vrabel said. “I think the focus and the understanding of this football team is now going to be shifted toward playing on Monday. I’m confident that the league will allow us some time to practice and move forward with the game.”
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