UPDATE, 11:12 a.m.: The Patriots and Chiefs are aiming to play Monday night, according to an ESPN report.
Patriots-Chiefs will kick off at 7:05 ET with full telecast on Monday night on CBS; Falcons-Packers kicks off at 8:50 et, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 4, 2020
Patriots quarterback Cam Newton reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and the team’s game against the Chiefs on Sunday in Kansas City has been postponed.
Here’s what we know about Newton and the status of the Patriots-Chiefs game:
Is Cam Newton the only Patriots player that has COVID-19?
So far, Newton is the only Patriots player to test positive for the coronavirus. The team said in a statement that late Friday night it received word of a player testing positive for COVID-19.
“The player (who tested positive) immediately entered self-quarantine,” the Patriots said in a statement Saturday. “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.”
Statement from the New England Patriots. pic.twitter.com/eSTUukh5vl
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 3, 2020
Since then, all Patriots tests have come back negative. The lab results of Saturday’s tests came back Saturday night with no new Patriots positives, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“NFL still needs to get the Chiefs test results, but this was what the league needed and wanted to see after a chaotic day in New England,” Schefter wrote.
It was more good news Sunday, according to Schefter.
All New England tests taken again this morning, after the negative tests on Saturday, came back negative again for a second straight day, source tells ESPN.
Best-case scenario for the Patriots and the NFL so far.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 4, 2020
When will the Patriots play the Chiefs?
Sunday’s Patriots-Chiefs game has been postponed to either Monday or Tuesday after players on both teams tested positive for the virus, the NFL said in a statement. On Sunday morning, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that Patriots players were informed they’d likely be traveling to Kansas City on Monday to take on the Chiefs on Monday night.
Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu is reportedly the Chiefs player that tested positive for COVID-19. Coincidentally, Ta’amu played the role of Newton in Chiefs practice this week.
The NFL will wait to make an official determination on the Week 4 matchup until it gets back more test results Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. A source told him “As of now [the game will be played] Monday, but it could easily be Tuesday.”
Both teams will have their facilities closed for the remainder of Saturday and Sunday, according to The MMQB’s Albert Breer. Breer also reported that the Patriots will have to likely clear POC testing on Monday morning in order to travel. He also said that the only way for the game to be played Monday is if the NFL and NFLPA can agree for the Patriots to travel and play on the same day, which is not allowed under COVID-19 protocols. The Patriots were scheduled to depart for Kansas City at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
If more test results come back positive, it is unknown if the Patriots will still face the Chiefs in Week 4.
Earlier this week, the NFL pushed back the Week 4 matchup between the Steelers and Titans after eight Titans players and eight Titans staffers tested positive for coronavirus. Both teams will use Week 4 as their bye week and will now play each other in Week 7 after some schedule maneuvering from the league.
The Patriots’ bye is in Week 6, while the Chiefs’ bye is in Week 10, which would mean the NFL would have to shuffle the schedule around if they can’t play in Week 4.
How long is Cam Newton out for?
The Patriots placed Newton on the COVID-19/reserve list after they received the positive test, according to the NFL Network.
If Newton is asymptomatic, he can be removed from the COVID-19 list 10 days after his initial positive test result. He can also be removed from the list five days after his first positive test result if he has consecutive negative PCR test results separated by 24 hours. He would also have to get approval from the team’s physician after consultation with ICS and the NFL’s chief medical officer.
If Newton is symptomatic, he cannot return until 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. He will also have to wait at least 72 hours since symptoms last appeared to be removed from the list. His return would also have to be approved by the team’s physician after consultation with ICS and the NFL’s chief medical officer. Local regulations and requirements will also have to be satisfied.
The NFL last night sent to clubs COVID-19 protocols for 2020 training camp and preseason, including this detailed breakdown for handling individuals exposed to someone who tested positive: pic.twitter.com/bX7aQzMZTZ
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 4, 2020
It is unknown whether Newton has developed symptoms of the virus or not. If he does, it makes it unlikely that he would be able to play in the Patriots’ Week 5 matchup against the Broncos, which is on Sunday, Oct. 11.
Who will start in Newton’s place?
If the Patriots-Chiefs game moves forward and is played this week, Brian Hoyer will start at quarterback for the Patriots, according to Rapoport.
Hoyer, who is in his sixth season with the Patriots on his third stint, has yet to start a game for New England. He has started 38 games over his 12-year NFL career, going 16-22 in those games.
Hoyer’s last start came in 2019 with the Colts. He completed 18 of 39 passes for 204 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in a 16-12 loss to the Dolphins, who were 1-7 at the time.
Jarrett Stidham, who was thought to be the Patriots’ heir apparent to Tom Brady not too long ago, has been a healthy scratch for the Patriots’ first three games of the season.
How are Patriots players reacting to the news?
No Patriots player has commented publicly on the news of Newton’s positive test and the postponement of Sunday’s game.
However, there are a couple of players expressing their concern, according to multiple reports.
An anonymous Patriots player told NFL Network’s Mike Giardi that they were relieved the team won’t be traveling to Kansas City on Saturday.
“We’ve seen what’s happened in Tennessee,” one player reportedly told Giardi. “It’s a concern. It’s scary. I don’t want to bring this home to my family.”
ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that multiple Patriots players were concerned in conversations she had with them.
“How can we play this game?” one player told Russini.
“I had it already so I am good but only a few of us have had it,” another Patriots player told Russini.
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