Following Mike Vrabel‘s positive coronavirus test Sunday, Ryan Tannehill has since tested positive, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, who adds nine Titans players or coaches have now tested positive (Twitter link). This contingent also includes outside linebacker Harold Landry and a few backups. Vrabel and Tannehill’s absences, however, certainly will affect Tennessee’s practice routines ahead of the season.
The Titans have placed Tannehill, Landry, tight end Geoff Swaim, linebacker Justin March-Lillard, running back Jeremy McNichols, linebacker Nick Dzubnar and defensive tackle Anthony Rush on their reserve/COVID list this week. Special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman is also away from the team due to COVID.
Not everyone in this group has tested positive, The Tennesseean’s Ben Arthur tweets, and Vrabel said (via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams) the vaccinated players who did test positive did not communicate to him any notable symptoms. But the team does have a bit of an issue on its hands.
Players have quicker avenues back to the field than they did last year. Vaccinated individuals who test positive do not have to isolate for 10 days any longer; they can return to practice after two negative tests 24 hours apart. Vrabel, who has been away from the team since Saturday, is vaccinated but has yet to test negative twice. Only unvaccinated players are eligible to be classified as high-risk close contacts.
The Titans’ October 2020 outbreak, which caused the first of the NFL’s schedule changes last season, certainly dwarfs their present situation. But the team being without its coach for nearly a week and being set to have its quarterback sidelined is notable. Tannehill, who is vaccinated, will be the latest quarterback to miss practices this month due to a COVID-19 situation. He will follow Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins and Cam Newton in that regard. The NFLPA has called for a return to daily testing, but as of now, only unvaccinated players are tested daily.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.