NFL season in tenuous situation with Patrick Mahomes potentially exposed to COVID-19

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes celebrates during game against Ravens
ep 28, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is greeted by teammates after running for a first quarter touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 just a couple days after his team took on reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

This came after Patriots starting quarterback Cam Newton also tested positive for the virus and with the Tennessee Titans dealing with a widespread outbreak of their own.

Related: NFL Week 5 injury report

This also goes to show us just how hard it is to play professional sports outside of a bubble during the worldwide pandemic. As for the Chiefs, there’s now some concern that Mahomes may have been exposed to COVID-19. He was seen hugging Gilmore following Monday night’s game.

Could Patrick Mahomes have been exposed to COVID-19?

We have absolutely no idea what the timeline is as it relates to Gilmore being infectious. He’s said to be asymptomatic at this point. However, pre-symptomatic individuals are among those most infectious.

Generally, the Reserve/COVID-19 list around the NFL takes into account those who have been in close contact with someone who has the virus. As of yet, Mahomes has not been placed on that list.

Gilmore’s positive came during Tuesday’s round of testing. There’s a decent chance that he might have had the virus when coming into contact with Mahomes Monday evening. Remember, the Patriots took two planes from New England to Kansas City after Newton’s positive test. One of those planes housed individuals who had close contact with Newton, Gilmore included.

As for the Chiefs, practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu tested positive for COVID-19 during the weekend. He’s the only infected member of the team right now. However, further testing leading up to Week 5’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders will tell us the story here. That’s where Mahomes comes into play.

NFL in a tight spot as it relates to COVID-19 outbreaks

We saw multiple Major League Baseball teams suffer outbreaks of the virus early during their truncated 60-game regular season. While things have gone better with the playoffs ongoing, this did act as a warning for the NFL. After all, the NBA and NHL had no real issues relating to the virus while playing in bubble locations.

Further outbreaks of COVID-19 within the NFL could potentially force the league to play Week 18, immediately ahead of the wild card round. The league is also considering a potential bubble, which would require putting a halt to the season for a week or two. The Gilmore situation might force the NFL’s hand moving forward.