The NFL’s Week 4 COVID-19 troubles continue. The New Orleans Saints, who are in Detroit preparing to face the Lions, have had fullback Michael Burton test positive for COVID-19, according to ProFootballTalk and confirmed by Fox Sports and NFL Network. Testing is currently occurring for those who were in contact with the player on the flight from New Orleans, along with a check on Burton’s positive in case it is false.
Contact-tracing technology used by the league identified three teammates, while four others were identified as having sat near Burton on the team plane, according to ProFootballTalk. One of those players was Saints star running back Alvin Kamara. The Saints are awaiting testing for the seven players, along with the re-testing of Burton.
Saturday was unfortunately an eventful day in the NFL when it comes to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Tennessee Titans recorded positive test No. 16 while New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Jordan Ta’amu tested positive for the coronavirus — which caused their Week 4 matchup to be postponed. The Titans’ matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers was moved to Week 7 with minor changes to team schedules, and the Patriots and Chiefs are hoping to kick off on either Monday or Tuesday.
While the league has always been careful about controlling potential COVID-19 outbreaks, what occurred in Nashville earlier this week has everyone on edge. The saga began on Tuesday when it was reported that the Titans would have to undergo additional COVID-19 testing due to three players and five staff members testing positive. On Wednesday, another player tested positive and the NFL made the decision to postpone the Week 4 Steelers-Titans matchup until either Monday or Tuesday. Things appeared to be moving in the right direction, but Thursday brought forth two more positive tests, and the Titans’ matchup with the Steelers was again rescheduled for later in the season.
This series of unfortunate events did not stop there, however, as two more players tested positive on Friday, and the NFL officially made the decision to postpone the Steelers-Titans game until Week 7 and allow the two clubs to use Week 4 as their bye week. Then on Saturday, three more members of the Titans have tested positive.
It’s possible this could be a situation that does not lead to an outbreak like we have seen in Nashville. Just last week, Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell became the first player to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list in the middle of the season. There were no positive results after Falcons players and personnel were tested again, and their matchup against the Chicago Bears was allowed to continue as scheduled.