NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As the NFL faces its first game postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tennessee Titans maintain that they have followed all NFL protocols regarding the team's outbreak.
Coach Mike Vrabel explained how they handled the first positive tests when he spoke to the media on Thursday.
"When we get the results early in the morning, Todd [Toriscelli] and his staff and Adrian [Dixon] begin the contact tracing; they do the follow-up testing, and then we proceed from there with the protocol as it relates to any of the positives that would come up," Vrabel said. "There's a POC test which happens; and again, very confident that we've followed the guidelines with the protocol that the league and the players' association have set forth as it relates to identifying those persons of close contact by using the tracing devices."
Test results came back positive last Saturday for outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen. Bowen was placed into protocol and did not make the trip to Minnesota for the Titans' Week 3 game against the Vikings. The Vikings haven't had any positive tests despite multiple tests being administered.
As for the Titans, any players or personnel who have been in contact with a person that tested positive is subject to multiple tests.
According to a statement from the NFL, one additional Titans players and one personnel member tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. The Titans added cornerback Kristian Fulton to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday.
That comes after four players (starting nose tackle DaQuan Jones, linebacker Kamalei Correa, long-snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson) and five team personnel members tested positive earlier this week.
The Titans practice facility has been shut down by the NFL until Saturday, and Tennessee's Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was initially moved to Monday or Tuesday. The game has now been postponed to later in the season after the additional positive tests.
Although players are currently not able to be in the building, daily testing will be conducted through Monday when Vrabel will relay any further directives from the NFL. According to Vrabel, the testing is done with drive-thru access that starts with a survey that can be filled out by phone when they pull into the parking lot at St. Thomas Sports Park.
Vrabel held an 8:30 a.m. meeting with Titans players and told them that Week 4 becomes the bye week for Tennessee effective immediately as the league awaits further test results.
The Titans are taking measures beyond what the league has mandated when they are away from the facility.
Said Vrabel, "We've asked our players to not gather -- whether that's a league protocol, or us asking them so that we can just avoid close contacts and that we can try to work through this and get back into the building to prepare for Buffalo as quickly as possible."
The Titans signed defensive back Greg Mabin to their practice squad on Sep 21. Mabin tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 24 and was placed into protocol. Tennessee played the Vikings on Sep 27. Vrabel acknowledged Mabin's positive test and explained how they followed protocol as directed by the NFL.
"When you try players out, they go through a process of testing and quarantine before you work them out. You decide to sign them or not, and then they're into the testing protocol. When he [Mabin] tested positive, we went through all the protocol and he was removed from the facility. When he tested positive, he was removed from the building, he was quarantined; and those individuals that were close contacts with him, they were also retested and went through their protocols as well as being a close contact."
As they continue testing and await further results, the Titans have turned their attention from the Steelers to next week's game when they host the Buffalo Bills on Oct 11.