Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, last year’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been placed on the team’s COVID-19 reserve list. Gilmore is the third Patriots player to test positive for the virus, joining quarterback Cam Newton and practice squad defensive lineman Bill Murray.
Meanwhile, two more member of the Titans’ organization tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, further delaying the reopening of the team’s practice facility and putting Sunday’s game against the Bills in question. The Titans-Steelers game that was scheduled for last Sunday had already been postponed until Oct. 25. A player from the Las Vegas Raiders also tested positive Wednesday.
The Patriots’ game against Kansas City, originally scheduled for last Sunday, was played instead on Monday night in Kansas City. Gilmore played in the game but traveled separately with a group of players that had been in close contact with Newton, who tested positive on Saturday and was immediately ruled out of the game.
No Kansas City players have tested positive this week. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was seen briefly talking to Gilmore after Kansas City’s 26-10 win over the Patriots.
The NFL this week introduced a series of additional protocols for teams, including the video monitoring of team facilities to make sure coaches, players and staff are following requirements that include wearing facial coverings and social distancing. Commissioner Roger Goodell stressed the importance of adhering to protocols under the threat of fines, draft choice removal and the potential forfeiture of games.
"We have to be responsible and gather info so we can put the health and well-being of the people in our building at the top of our list," Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday. "We're fighting an uphill battle. The league took the right steps to increase the protocols. It's necessary because it's only going to get more difficult. No one is perfect. We're trying to do the best we can."
The league and the NFL Players Association last week sent representatives to the Titans’ facility to examine whether any protocols were violated, and a report of Titans players gathering to practice on their own in recent days has added further uncertainty to their situation. The team was instructed to hold all team-related activities on a virtual basis.
The league and players union are also examining the Patriots’ facility. The team canceled Wednesday’s practice.
As of now, the Patriots’ game on Sunday against the Broncos at Gillette Stadium is still on.