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Titans' COVID-19 outbreak could put Steelers-Titans game in jeopardy

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

The Titans had three new players and five new personnel employees test positive for COVID-19, according to Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network. Both the Titans and Vikings, who hosted Tennessee on Sunday, will suspend in-person club activities starting today.

A league source told Dianna Russini of ESPN, "We are shutting Tennessee down until Saturday," which means no Titans coaches or players can be in the building. However, Mark Maske of The Washington Post refuted that report and said sources told him the NFL will go "day by day" with the Titans' situation, evaluating the shutdown of in-person team activities based on "consultation with the experts and the test results," and denied that decision has been made to shut down Titans until Saturday.

The Titans' eight positive COVID-19 tests are confirmed positives and the chance that they are negatives have been ruled out, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. The Titans were without their defensive play-caller Shane Bowen on Sunday against the Vikings due to a positive COVID-19 test.

This is the NFL's first outbreak with a team this season and if Russini's report is true that things will be shut down until Saturday in Tennessee that puts the Steelers-Titans game on Sunday in serious jeopardy.

If the Steelers don't play on Sunday, they'll use this week as their bye week and there would have to be some maneuvering with the schedule to make up this week's game. One possibility is to have the Steelers and Ravens play each other in Week 8 instead of Week 7 since they both have a bye that week, and move the Steelers-Titans game to Week 7, which is Tennessee's bye week.

Burt Lauten, the Steelers Director of Communications released a statement regarding the COVID-19 outbreak with the Titans. It read in part: "We have been in contact with the NFL regarding the positive COVID-19 tests with the Tennessee Titans. We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday’s game until we are informed otherwise."

Lauten also said that Mike Tomlin's weekly press conference scheduled for noon has been postponed until later today.

Update: Per Lauten, Tomlin will address the media tonight at approximately 6 p.m. ET.

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