TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate, who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus this offseason and has since recovered, called attending Tom Brady's organized workouts a "calculated risk" and believes it won't be much different than electing to play this season.
Brate contracted the virus as the player-organized workouts were going on a few months ago, but his fiancée, Brooke, whom he lives with, started exhibiting symptoms first, so he put himself into quarantine before his diagnosis.
"I initially tested negative, but at some point, I contracted it from her and later became infected," Brate said. "For me personally, the only thing I experienced was a loss of taste for two days. So I'm extremely grateful that I wasn't one of the people who got some of the more severe symptoms."
"The way things worked out, I kind of was already in quarantine before I had a positive test or anything. I think the guys continued to work out and luckily I wasn't putting anyone at risk, which was great," said Brate, who has fully recovered.
Brate said the workouts, which were conducted multiple times a week, continued after he was diagnosed. He said the players tried to be responsible about it and discussed ways to minimize risk.
"It was definitely something we talked about, definitely something we tried to figure out the best way of going about doing it. I would probably say ... we weren't the only quarterbacks and receivers doing that across the league, although I think we were the only ones that had a helicopter above us filming it -- that was interesting for sure," Brate said.
"We just tried to avoid the risk of exposure to each other as much as possible. We weren't huddling up, we weren't hugging each other or anything like that. We were just having a little catch outside so it was kind of a calculated risk, I would say, that we took in that regard. We did the best we could to try to maintain social distance and really not have too much close interactions with one another."
"I will say -- the scary thing is, if she hadn't tested positive, I kinda would've gone on with my life as normal and potentially infected other people," Brate said. "So that was kind of the main takeaway for me, was just how scary that possibility was. I think that's potentially the case for a lot of people as well."
Now that Brate and his fiancée have recovered, both plan to donate plasma as many times as they are able to, something the Bucs actually approached him about. Brate recently filmed a PSA with OneBlood to encouraging people to donate plasma -- the liquid part of blood. According to the FDA, those who have recovered from the infection have antibodies that may be able to help others who are struggling to fight the disease.
As for how he thinks the league is handling safety as players report and soon begin practicing, Brate said, "There's always gonna be risk involved, because you can't social distance playing football. You're tackling, you're blocking, you're sweating, spitting on each other, whatever -- there's just a lot going on in the game of football."
While no Bucs players have opted out of playing in 2020, teammate Donovan Smith expressed concern on social media two weeks ago before the NFL and NFLPA agreed on daily testing. Smith has since reported for camp, on Tuesday. But Brate doesn't fault players on other teams who have opted out and respects their decisions.
"There's really no difference between the summer workouts and now -- there's no vaccine or anything. Everyone's pretty much dealing with the same risk calculation that they have to make for them and their families," Brate said.
"Everyone's entitled to make their own decision, of what's best for them and those closest with them. I've seen people across the league decide to opt out. Sometimes, you'll read the comments and there will be a lot of negative stuff about their decision. And that's super discouraging to see, because how can you fault someone for putting their health and their family's health first?"