Some NFL Teams Canceling Activities After Irregularities in COVID-19 Results

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2020

NFL logo on the field at the Bank of American Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Nell Redmond/Associated Press

Some NFL teams have altered their training camp plans for Sunday based on "irregularities in results" from COVID-19 testing that took place Saturday for evaluation at a New Jersey lab.

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network provided a statement from the league:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Several NFL teams are altering or cancelling football activities today after irregularities in results from Saturday’s COVID-19 test results from the same lab in New Jersey. Statement from the NFL: https://t.co/RhwzHQVsUA

Adam Schefter of ESPN later reported that 77 tests, involving 11 teams, have come back negative after being retested:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Source: A total of 77 tests in question from 11 teams and the one NJ lab all came back negative. All tests at the lab are being re-tested and so far all have been negative. There are a total of 5 labs nationwide that service the 32 teams.

Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com shared the full list of teams that have been impacted by the false positives:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Per source, the Giants are another team hit with false positives from Saturday, due to the lab in New Jersey. They had guys take rapid tests this AM, and all passed that test. So on the list: Patriots, Jets, Giants, Bills, Browns, Lions, Bears, Vikings, Packers, Steelers. https://t.co/eQDA51HOkV

The NFL opened training camps on time in July after moving the entire offseason program into a virtual format because of the coronavirus pandemic. The preseason was canceled to limited large-scale interactions until the beginning of the regular season in September.

Here's some further information coming out of Sunday's developments:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Bears had nine players/staff text positive for COVID but, upon further review, nine results were false positives, the team said. Out of an abundance of caution, they postponed this morning’s practice to this afternoon at 1:30pm.

IG: JosinaAnderson @JosinaAnderson

A Browns source told me when reporting to the facility this am for a regular prax day, they were told to just take their CoVID test & go home until further notice. After that, staff & players were told on a zoom call w/t HC that several NFL teams may have problems w/test results.

Jay Skurski @JaySkurski

#Bills GM Brandon Beane announces the team has had some players test positive for Covid. The team will hold some players out of practice, believing that it is a lab issue -- meaning the possibility of false positives exists. Beane says the issue is impacting 10 or 11 other teams.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Jets had 10 false-positive COVID tests this weekend.

Burt Lauten @SteelersPRBurt

#Steelers GM Kevin Colbert statement on recent COVID-19 testing/results: https://t.co/WwSvIXk7Ip

Ben Goessling @GoesslingStrib

Vikings had eight players, one coach and three staffers with presumptive positive COVID-19 tests today, in connection with the lab that's produced a run of positive tests, Mike Zimmer said.

A statement from the Cleveland Browns:

"After consistently receiving encouraging results from daily testing since returning to the facility in July, the Cleveland Browns' COVID-19 testing process conducted yesterday initially indicates multiple individual presumptive positive cases that include players, coaches and support staff. Although, we have received indication from the NFL that they are investigating irregularities in lab results that have also impacted other clubs, out of an abundance of caution, we will immediately follow our comprehensive Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan and pause any activity in our building today and conduct meetings virtually.

"As per plan procedure, the team is also diligently reviewing proximity data for contact tracing and instructed self-isolation for those who tested positive and others as appropriate even though they all remain asymptomatic. Our facility is currently undergoing a thorough deep-cleaning and disinfecting process and is closed to all personnel for the day. We will provide updates as testing results are confirmed and more information is available."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in June the league understood more positive tests would arise and stated the league was prepared to adjust plans as needed.

"And again, we expect we are going to have positive tests," Goodell told reporters. "That is part of the increased testing that we will be going through."

He added: "The protocols are stringent. They are designed to be that because they are for the safety of our players and personnel, including coaches. We'll evolve as the circumstances change. We will be changing our protocols appropriately."

Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer, described the league's efforts as a "very ambitious testing program" later in June.

So far, the NFL has managed to avoid any widespread outbreaks within its 32 teams.

The 2020 regular season is scheduled to kick off Sept. 10 when the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium.

Super Bowl LV is set for Feb. 7, 2021, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.