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NFLPA head: COVID-19 will not derail Super Bowl

Jan 31, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks during the NFLPA press conference in advance of the Super Bowl LIII where the New England Patriots will play the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3, 2019 at Mercedes_Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl LV will go on as planned on Sunday, even if the game’s biggest stars test positive for COVID-19, the NFL Players Association executive director said Wednesday.

As a guest on ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin,” DeMaurice Smith was asked if the game would be postponed if either of the star quarterbacks — Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs — were to test positive.

“I don’t see any scenario where we would agree with the league to move the Super Bowl,” Smith said. “I mean, look, we’ve had a difficult season. We’ve had teams in Cleveland, where I think JC Tretter, our union president, was breaking down film because they didn’t have a coach; we saw the Denver Broncos head into a [game] without a number of quarterbacks.

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“I think it wouldn’t be fair to the rigor and the discipline that we’ve insisted that players have this year to move the Super Bowl,” he said.

The Chiefs currently have two players on the reserve/COVID-19 list — wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and backup center Daniel Kilgore. Both were considered high risks after their barber reportedly tested positive. They likely will be eligible to play in the game should they continue to test negative.

Smith said the players have done their best to limit their exposure to the virus. Throughout the testing period from Aug. 1 through Jan. 30, approximately 957,400 tests were administered. During that time, 262 players and 463 other personnel had confirmed positive cases, the NFL and NFLPA said in their weekly COVID-19 report on Tuesday.

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“My hope, and certainly everybody’s hope, is that our players will continue to double down, do the great job that they’ve done all season, and we’ll get this fantastic game kicked off on time,” Smith said.

Kickoff for Super Bowl LV is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Buccaneers are the first team to play in a Super Bowl in their home stadium.

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–Field Level Media