The Buffalo Bills start to training camp hasn’t gotten off to the smoothest start
NFL training camps kicked off this week as scheduled after taking negotiations down to the wire before agreeing to health protocols and financial payout for the 2020 season. We’ve seen a bevy of players opt out of the upcoming campaign due to concerns about playing during the coronavirus pandemic and some athletes end up on the COVID-19/reserve lists for either testing positive of coming into contact with someone who contracted the virus.
According to reports, the Buffalo Bills sent their rookies home after two players tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing their total to five this week. In lieu of practice, the Bills held virtual meetings instead to prevent a widespread outbreak in the facility.
“As we were informed by medical experts as training camp opened, we expected to have positive tests for COVID,” the Bills said in a statement to ESPN. “With 5 since the beginning of the testing period last Tuesday, we decided to take a disciplined, proactive and preventative approach to hopefully eliminate additional cases within our team.”
Bills playing it safe to prevent a Marlins-style outbreak
The rookie who tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday yielded three consecutive negative results after reporting on July 21, which meant he was allowed to enter the facility under the league’s mandate. While he did receive a positive contraction, the rookie is asymptomatic.
Throughout this week, the Bills placed defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, wide receiver Duke Williams and undrafted free agent cornerback Ike Brown on the COVID-19/reserve list. Additionally, starting defensive tackle Star Lotuleilei opted out of the 2020 season.
We’ve seen just how dangerous a in-house outbreak can be. This past weekend, a handful of Miami Marlins players tested positive for the coronavirus prior to their Sunday matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies. The league didn’t step in, and the players voted to take the field anyway. After playing Sunday, the Marlins have had a total of 17 players and two coaches test positive, forcing their season to be paused until Monday the earliest. Additionally, a coach and staff member of the Phillies yielded positive tests results, forcing the postponement of their scheduled weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
You can’t fault the Bills for playing it safe and opt to send everyone home before things got much worse. But it goes to show just how difficult it is for the NFL to continue their season during the ongoing pandemic without a bubbled environment.