sunny.png
Thursday October 22nd, 2020 5:03PM

Patriots cancel practice after 5th player tests positive

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

From New England to Atlanta to Indianapolis, the focus was not on football on Friday. It was on, not surprisingly, coronavirus tests.

The Patriots canceled practice Friday and later placed center James Ferentz on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He became the fifth player on the team to test positive for the virus.

With the Colts, there were four positive tests that, when retested, came up negative. The Falcons returned to their facility one day after abandoning it when they had a second positive.

New England (2-2) already twice had the original Week 5 matchup against Denver postponed following four earlier positive coronavirus tests by players, including quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The game is scheduled for Sunday in Foxborough, Massachusetts, but now could be in jeopardy.

“I don’t really know the answer to that," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said when asked about finally playing the Patriots. "We’re under the assumption and understanding that this game’s going to go off on time. And anything that happens otherwise will happen when it happens.”

Newton and Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, returned to practice this week for the first time since testing positive for the virus. Newton missed New England’s loss at Kansas City on Oct. 5 after his Oct. 2 positive test. He was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Gilmore, who tested positive on Oct. 7, was activated from the list Thursday. Practice squad player Bill Murray also returned from the COVID-19 list Thursday.

Defensive tackle Byron Cowart, who tested positive on Oct. 11, was joined on the list by Ferentz.

The Broncos (1-3) haven’t played since Oct. 1. If they play Sunday, they’ll have had 16 days between games, one day longer than Tennessee’s layoff before the Titans beat Buffalo on Tuesday night following the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak, which affected two dozen members of the organization.

Denver's layoff is the longest in the league since 2001, when the NFL postponed all games on the weekend following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Three teams — the Saints, Steelers and Buccaneers — had byes when play resumed a week later, so they all had 20 days between games that year. Of those three, only the Steelers won in their return to action.

Indianapolis closed its practice facility, then the four retests came back negative and the building reopened.

Coach Frank Reich did not identify who had the false positives but acknowledged if it wasn’t a player, it was someone who worked closely with the players. He did say the four were kept out of the facility.

Reich had started making contingency plans to play the Bengals on Monday or Tuesday, and also rearranged Friday’s schedule. Meetings were conducted virtually and after the second set of results came back, the Colts went through a lighter-than-normal practice at team headquarters while wearing masks.

“It just made sense that we could jog through, get all the looks we needed to get, get our bodies going a little bit, get the heart rate going a little bit but not going full speed,” Reich said. “It would have had to been masks under the helmet, so I just felt like it was the right thing to do — not go full speed with the mask under the helmet.”

The Browns, who played the Colts on Sunday, had zero positive tests Friday morning and their building was open. The negatives included one for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was ill and sent home Thursday and not allowed to practice Friday.

Atlanta resumed in-person work under more stringent safety measures.

“Just with the intensive regulations, the mask protocol is in high effect,” interim coach Raheem Morris said. “We have to do some of those different type of deals. Masks on the field, player separation on the field. The in-person meetings only in two areas: The team meeting room and the indoor facility. All of those things we had to implement.

“Everything dealing with the disease and the COVID and what we’ve got to deal with I will follow to the highest and protect the team at all costs, even if it means shutting down a practice like yesterday.”

The Falcons play Sunday at Minnesota.

Rookie defensive tackle Marlon Davidson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday and a second person, who is not a player, subsequently tested positive.

The Panthers have guard/center Tyler Larsen on the reserve/COVID-19 list, five days after he played against Atlanta.

“I know a lot of people have had their lives interrupted in a very negative way, whether it be through the illness itself, whether it be through losing their job, whether it be through having to take a pay cut,” Fangio said. "You know, nobody deserves that. And some small businesses, people who have worked their whole lives to establish a business are really struggling right now. And I know some small business owners from all over the country where I’ve been, and they’re struggling.

“And luckily here in the NFL so far as players and coaches, we haven’t missed any paychecks, so we’re just going to keep fighting through and consider us lucky. And yes, we’ve been inconvenienced, there are a lot of protocols to follow, some of them can be a little overbearing at times but they’re necessary.

“And so I think in the big picture, we’ve been lucky.”

___

AP Pro Football Writers Arnie Stapleton and Dennis Waszak Jr., Sports Writers Mike Marot, Steve Reed and George Henry and freelancer Gethin Coolbaugh contributed to this report.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Patriots cancel practice after 5th player tests positive
From New England to Atlanta to Indianapolis, the focus was not on football
8:34PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Record avalanche of early votes transforms the 2020 election
A record-setting amount of early voting has changed the 2020 election
8:29PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: New Mexico sets another one-day COVID-19 record
New Mexico health officials have confirmed the state set another single-day record with 819 COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 35,770 since the pandemic began
8:09PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Kansas coach cleared of virus but skips West Virginia game
Kansas coach Les Miles has been cleared to return to the Jayhawks after his positive test for COVID-19
7:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Md. allowing up to 10% capacity at NFL stadiums
Gov. Larry Hogan says Maryland will allow up to 10% capacity at the two stadiums in the state that are home to NFL teams
7:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
Rays-Yankees get most viewers during Division Series
The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees drew the five-most watched games of the Division Series, boosted by prime time start times
6:19PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Jones returns to practice as Falcons prepare to face Vikings
Seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones returned to practice as a limited participant and hopes to play Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons visit the Minnesota Vikings
4:06PM ( 4 hours ago )
Panthers place lineman Larsen on reserve/COVID-19 list
The Carolina Panthers have placed guard/center Tyler Larsen on the reserve/COVID-19 list, five days after he played against the Atlanta Falcons
3:15PM ( 5 hours ago )
On Football: Flames under coaching hot seats intensify
Bill O’Brien went first
3:03PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Football
NFL will be cautious with players, coaches who have symptoms
The NFL plans to take a cautious approach that may force players and coaches reporting flu symptoms to miss games without testing positive for COVID-19
5:16PM ( 1 day ago )
Long view: Falcons, Vikings have veered off contending track
The Atlanta Falcons have hit the reset button with a dual in-season dismissal of their general manager and head coach
4:24PM ( 1 day ago )
Newton, Gilmore return, putting both on track to play
Patriots quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore returned to practice for the first time since testing positive for the coronavirus, putting both players on track to be in the lineup when New England hosts Denver
3:31PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Record avalanche of early votes transforms the 2020 election
A record-setting amount of early voting has changed the 2020 election
8:29PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: New Mexico sets another one-day COVID-19 record
New Mexico health officials have confirmed the state set another single-day record with 819 COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 35,770 since the pandemic began
8:09PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Life on the line: Early voters wait 'as long as it takes'
Life in the early voting line can be a long crawl, but voters in one Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, precinct say they'll wait as long as it takes to cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential election
7:41PM ( 1 hour ago )
Authorities: Top Mexico official helped smuggle drugs to US
U.S. authorities allege that Mexico’s former defense secretary helped a cartel smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine, heroin and other drugs into the United States in exchange for bribes
7:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
White House: Tennessee mask mandate 'must be implemented'
The White House quietly told Tennessee early this week that a statewide mask mandate “must be implemented” to curb its growing spread of COVID-19
7:33PM ( 1 hour ago )