The NFL says Sunday afternoon’s game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs will be postponed until Monday or Tuesday, after players on both teams tested positive for COVID-19, including Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, according to a multiple reports Saturday morning.
In a statement Saturday, the Patriots confirmed that they received notice late Friday night that a player tested positive for the virus and “immediately entered self-quarantine,” though the team did not immediately specify which player.
“Several additional players, coaches and staff who have been in close contact with the player received point of care tests this morning and all were negative for COVID-19,” the Patriots said in their statement.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who first reported the news about Newton, tweeted Saturday that the Patriots are “doing mass testing and re-testing and, so far, there is no spread.”
Patriots have been doing mass testing and re-testing and, so far, there is no spread, per source. https://t.co/0XyCkixjgv
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 3, 2020
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also confirmed that, so far, Newton was the only Patriots player who tested positive, after other members of the team were told Saturday morning to come in for rapid-response testing. However, he also cautioned that “results often take days to manifest.”
According to the Rapoport, the Chiefs player who tested positive was Jordan Ta’amu, a practice squad quarterback.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 3, 2020
“In consultation with infectious disease experts, both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA to evaluate multiple close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments,” the NFL said in a statement Saturday. “All decisions will be made with the health and safety of players, team and gameday personnel as our primary consideration.”
The news Saturday comes after the NFL postponed a game Sunday between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers, after at least 18 Titans players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
Newton would be the first Patriots player to contract the virus this season. His absence would likely mean that Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham would start at quarterback against the Chiefs, if the game is played this week.
It remains unclear how Newton contracted the virus. Compared to the rest of the country, Massachusetts has reported a relatively low rate of COVID-19 infections this fall. However, some experts have expressed concern about an increase in cases in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the team regularly monitors players, coaches, and staff to ensure adherence to the league’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“If we can do something better, then we talk to them about how we can do it better,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “So, we try to monitor it the best we can and we, I think, are pretty vigilant.”
Belichick noted that the team has had to make multiple adjustments to their various safety procedures, but called the Titans outbreak a “good reminder for all of us of the situation that we’re in.”