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Report: NFL, NFLPA probing Titans outbreak

FILE PHOTO: NFL: Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings

A Tennessee Titans player and coach tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday morning, ESPN reported.

That brings the total positives in the organization to 18 — nine players and nine others — in the past week. Since the testing began, there have been 20 positive results in all in the organization.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association reportedly are investigating whether the team’s personnel broke the league’s protocols during the outbreak.

The league and union reportedly requested videotapes of team activity to try to understand how the outbreak occurred. ESPN said the investigation is focused on linebackers coach Shane Bowen, who was the first in the organization to catch the coronavirus.

NFL Network reported Sunday that the investigation also is looking into whether personnel failed to wear the mandatory Kinexon tracking devices, which would hinder contact tracing, and whether people in the organization didn’t report symptoms of the virus that they or family members were experiencing.

Earlier in the week, head coach Mike Vrabel said the Titans have done everything that’s been asked of them.

“Nobody’s to blame. We’re in a pandemic. Unfortunately things happen,” Vrabel said.

“Since receiving the protocols in August, we’ve followed those by the letter and that we’re conscious of everything that we did. This is a very unfortunate situation, but one that were confident we will be able to handle safely with … the players’ best interest in mind.”

The NFL postponed Sunday’s scheduled Titans-Pittsburgh Steelers game because of the outbreak in Tennessee. The Week 5 schedule calls for the Titans to host the Buffalo Bills, but ESPN reported that game could be in jeopardy if further tests come back with positive results.

The NFL juggled the schedule on Friday, moving the Titans-Steelers game to Oct. 25. The Steelers, originally scheduled to meet the Ravens that week, instead will play Baltimore on Nov. 1.

The shift moves the byes for the Titans and Steelers to Week 4, with the Ravens flipping their bye from Week 8 to Week 7.

The Titans are the first NFL team to experience an outbreak of the coronavirus. Their opponent last weekend, the Minnesota Vikings, returned to practice on Thursday and did so again on Friday under enhanced protocols the NFL shared with teams on Thursday night.

There were no positive tests among Minnesota personnel after game-day testing Sunday morning prior to their game at the Houston Texans.

–Field Level Media