Carolina Panthers enter enhanced coronavirus protocol after Falcons DT tests positive

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers on Wednesday entered the NFL's intensive protocol after Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Marlon Davidson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Falcons placed Davidson on the list Tuesday, two days after losing to the Panthers (3-2) in Atlanta. A source told ESPN's Vaughn McClure that Davidson tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Falcons announced Wednesday evening that they also entered the NFL's intensive protocol.

The intensive protocol, according to a memo sent out by the NFL on Oct. 1, requires teams potentially exposed to the coronavirus to implement the following precautions:

In addition to daily testing, all players Tier 1 and 2 must receive daily rapid point-of-care tests and test negatively before entering the facility;

  • All meetings must occur virtually;

  • Whenever possible, activities such as practice will take place either outdoors or in large, open spaces;

  • Personal protective equipment such as face masks or shields must be worn on the practice field by players and staff at all times;

  • Gloves also should be worn on the field for all players except quarterbacks [Note: Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater always wears gloves on both hands];

  • The weight room will be limited to no more than 10 players at any time regardless of the size of the room;

  • The facility will be deep cleaned daily;

  • No team or player gatherings or group football activities will be permitted away from the facility;

  • Players can be in the locker room for at most 15 minutes, with masks worn at all times.

The rules basically are what the Minnesota Vikings followed after their Week 3 game against the Tennessee Titans, who the next week had an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

No Minnesota player tested positive after the Titans game, and the Vikings did not miss a game.

The Panthers did not cancel Wednesday's practice but did push it back to 1:45 p.m. instead of the typical noon start. At this point, no Carolina player has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list since Sunday.

The Panthers are scheduled to host the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.