Steelers, Texans Continuing Week 4 Prep Despite Titans' COVID-19 Outbreak

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers helmet on the field against Denver Broncos during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Pittsburgh, PA. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans aren't disrupting their preparations for Sunday's Week 4 games against the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings, respectively, after three Titans players and five members of the staff tested positive for COVID-19.

"We have been in contact with the NFL regarding the positive COVID-19 tests with the Tennessee Titans," the Steelers said in statement Tuesday, via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. "We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday's game until we are informed otherwise."

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported the Texans are also "maintaining normal operations" in the wake of Tennessee's positive tests.

The Titans closed their team facilities because of the positive tests. According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, their doors will remain closed until Saturday, which presents obvious issues during a game week. Russini added that the NFL hasn't made a decision about the game itself.

Per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Titans coaches are taking a "no excuses" approach to the situation:

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

#Titans coaches have told players if they have to go without any work until Saturday, have a walkthrough then and play the #Steelers Sunday then that's what they'll have to do. No excuses. https://t.co/itr0rxkNWs

The Vikings are in the same boat after having played the Titans in Week 3, falling 31-30 at home. 

Minnesota Vikings @Vikings

Statement from the #Vikings https://t.co/JMG136w2ci

According to CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora, the NFL reached out to all four teams to say a postponement is on the table.

MarkMaske @MarkMaske

NFL is monitoring Titans' and Vikings' situations on day-to-day basis to determine when to reopen teams' facilities, source says. (Fixed previous tweet that said erroneously that league was monitoring Steelers' situation. Apologies.) Titans-Steelers game is currently on.

The Titans and Steelers don't have the same bye week, which complicates matters in terms of moving their matchup to a later date. Tennessee is scheduled to be off in Week 7, with Pittsburgh getting a break the following week.

It's the same story for the Vikings (Week 7) and Texans (Week 8). Eliminating one of those bye weeks would require further tweaking to the schedule.

Proceeding with business as usual is the sensible choice from the Steelers and Texans' perspective. In the event the games do happen, they'll be ready to go.