The Tennessee Titans have finally been cleared to return to practice. The team took the field Saturday for the first time since September after experiencing another day with no new positive coronavirus tests.
The team has been shut down since Sept. 29 due to a coronavirus outbreak. Eight members of the team tested positive initially, but that figure grew to at least 23 positive tests as the virus spread throughout the team. As a result of those positive coronavirus tests, the NFL postponed the Titans’ Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Titans’ Week 5 game against the Buffalo Bills was also in jeopardy, but the NFL moved the contest to Tuesday to give the Titans time to return to practice.
With the Titans returning to the field Saturday, it seems far more likely the team’s Week 5 game against the Bills will happen.
Mike Vrabel addresses Titans’ positive tests
Head coach Mike Vrabel said the team was excited to return to practice. He also thanked the NFL and NFLPA for trying to keep the team safe.
Vrabel added that the team will operate under “enhanced” coronavirus protocols for the time being.
Vrabel also confirmed the team’s practice schedule for the week. The Titans plan to hold regular practice Saturday and Sunday, and will go through their walkthrough Monday. He said he’s “hopeful” some players on the COVID-19/reserve list will be available for Tuesday’s game.
Titans could still face discipline from NFL
Though the Titans are back at practice, the team isn’t completely out of the woods yet. The Titans could still face discipline from the NFL after players reportedly broke coronavirus protocol to hold informal workouts while the team was supposed to be on lockdown. The NFL and NFLPA launched an investigation into those workouts, and the Titans are expected to be hit with some penalties.
Vrabel said the team has been “completely transparent” with the NFL and NFLPA during that investigation. He did not want to comment on specifics while the investigation was ongoing.
#Titans HC Mike Vrabel: "With all questions that are going to relate to the review -- we've been completely transparent with the NFL/NFLPA and we're going to wait to comment."— Erik Bacharach (@ErikBacharach) October 10, 2020
While the NFL hasn’t announced those penalties yet, the league has leaned heavily on fines early in 2020. A number of teams and coaches have been fined for breaking coronavirus protocols. Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden has been one of the league’s biggest targets, racking up a $100,000 fine for not wearing his mask on the sideline. The Raiders were hit with a $250,000 fine for Gruden’s actions.
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