For the second straight day, COVID-19 has infiltrated an NFL team facility. Today, it’s the Houston Texans.
Updated Nov. 5, 2020 at 12:40 pm: And now the Bears. (Ed. note: You know things are bad when you have to update a story a half hour after posting it.)
According to Fox Houston sports director Mark Berman, Texans outside linebacker Jacob Martin has tested positive for COVID-19. Martin’s diagnosis comes one day after San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tested positive.
Houston’s facility will remain closed the rest of the day as the league begins contact tracing. Game preparation for Houston’s Sunday matchup against Jacksonville will be remote.
Also, Eagles safety Marcus Epps tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday. Epps was immediately put into isolation. The team will still undergo daily testing even though they are on a bye week this week.
In Chicago, Bears center Cody Whitehair tested positive Thursday morning adding to an already ailing offensive line. Offensive tackle Jason Spriggs returned a positive test Tuesday and was immediately moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list along with close contact right guard Germain Ifedi, who could possibly return in time for Sunday if he passes the five-day quarantine period.
This is also the second straight week the Texans have seen a player diagnosed with coronavirus. Max Scharping, an offensive lineman, was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list after his October 28 positive result.
The Texans organization released the following statement:
“We were informed last night that a Texans player has tested positive for COVID-19. In consultation with the NFL and medical experts, we have made the decision to close the facility and conduct all operations virtually today. The player immediately self-isolated and contact tracing has begun. We will follow the NFL’s intensive protocols and guidance regarding the team’s operations. The health and safety of our team, as well as our entire staff, are of highest priority.”
At this point, the NFL should just come out saying: “Our only concern is getting a product on the field.”
As most states in the country face an uptick in COVID-19 positive tests, and the U.S. saw its first 100,000-case day Wednesday, the NFL has made no tweaks to its system. Stupefyingly, COVID-19 clearly doesn’t faze them.
There is practically zero care given to these situations outside of the standard contact tracing. If a team has two COVID-19 cases in a little over a week, that should be more than enough to shut things down. One positive case should demand a shutdown, but when you’re dealing with an institution that could care less, things will continue as planned.
So we will wait and see what happens with the Texans. Meanwhile, three 49ers players who had close contact with Bourne were put on the team’s COVID-19 reserve list yesterday and ruled out for Thursday’s game. There is a five-day quarantine protocol for all players who have been in contact with a carrier of the virus.
Texans players who made contact with Martin will likely be put into that protocol as well. It’s shameful that’s all that will be done in response to a deadly pandemic.