Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians: Players will ‘all get sick’ playing amid COVID-19 pandemic

Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians provided a stunning quote about the NFL’s plan to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking with the Tampa Bay Times, Arians made it clear he doesn’t think any player will avoid sickness: “We’ve got to be careful,” Arians said. “The players, they’re going to all get sick, that’s for sure. It’s just a matter of how sick they get.”

Buccaneers have already dealt with positive COVID-19 cases

Arians and the Bucs have some experience with the coronavirus pandemic already. The team announced last month that an undisclosed amount of players tested positive for COVID-19.

That took place long before the players were even allowed at team facilities, too. Once training camp starts up in late July, it’s going to be even harder to keep the coronavirus from spreading.

Florida is currently embroiled in a stunning COVID-19 firestorm

Complicating matters even more, the state of Florida is one of the worst-hit in the United States right now as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incredibly, on Tuesday the state-wide positive rate was a stunning 20.8% — setting a new record.

To date, Florida has seen nearly 214,000 infections, with roughly half of that total coming in recent weeks. Hillsborough County, where Tampa is, has seen its total go past 15,000 infections, per WUSF News.

NFL players worried about playing during the 2020 season

The NFLPA came out with a strongly worded statement, through president J.C. Tretter, on Tuesday that indicates the players and NFL itself are far apart when it comes to health and safety issues.

Other players have made it clear they are uncomfortable with the idea of playing amid the pandemic. This includes Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, who said there are significant questions that must be answered, and Malcolm Jenkins of the New Orleans Saints.

Given the fact that at least one head coach (Arians) thinks every player will get sick, it appears they have every reason to be concerned.