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The Tennessee Titans’ game against the Buffalo Bills has been postponed by the NFL, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, marking the second consecutive week that the team’s COVID-19 outbreak has prompted a reshuffling of its schedule.
Originally set for Sunday, the contest now will be played on Tuesday, so long as the Titans do not report additional positive COVID-19 tests, Schefter reported. The Bills also had next Thursday’s game at home against the Kansas City Chiefs pushed back to Sunday, per Schefter.
Since Sept. 24, the Titans have had 23 team members — 13 players and 10 staff members — test positive for COVID-19.
The Titans first closed their facility on Sept. 29 after the team returned eight positive tests — three from players and five from staff members — in the aftermath of a win over the Minnesota Vikings. The NFL postponed the Titans’ contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, scheduled for this past Sunday, until Week 7 while moving up both teams’ bye weeks.
The NFL is investigating whether the Titans broke various league protocols related to COVID-19, a person familiar with the probe told the USA TODAY Network. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The league informed the Titans on Sept. 29 not to hold any informal workouts or group group football activities while the facility was closed, a person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the USA TODAY Network. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details about the discussion.
On Sept. 30, a group of Titans players worked out at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, headmaster Brad Gioia confirmed to the Tennessean.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday in a memo that forfeits and the stripping of draft picks were possible punishments for any team found to have violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols in a manner that results in schedule changes.
If the game is played Tuesday, it would be only the second contest since 1946 to be played on that day of the week. The Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles played a Tuesday game in December 2010 after a blizzard forced postponement of their previous date.
The New England Patriots’ game against the Denver Broncos was also postponed Thursday, KUSA’s Mike Klis reported, with the two teams now set to play Monday. The Patriots have had two players — quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore — test positive for COVID-19 in the last week.