A Patriots player has tested positive for coronavirus, and according to multiple reports, that player is starting quarterback Cam Newton. The Patriots canceled their Saturday afternoon flight to Kansas City and the NFL has announced that it will move the game against the Chiefs to Monday or Tuesday.
Right now, the team is waiting to hear back about more test results that players and coaches took on Saturday morning. The team announced that the first round of tests all came back negative.
The statement read:
"Late last night, we received notice that a Patriots player tested positive for COVID-19. The player immediately entered self-quarantine. 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.
"We are in close consultation with the NFL, as well as our team of independent doctors and specialists, and will follow their guidance regarding our scheduled trip to Kansas City and game against the Chiefs. The health and safety of our team, as well as our opponent, are of highest priority."
The NFL also issued a statement:
"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. All decisions will be made with the health and safety of players, team and gameday personnel as our primary consideration."
According to ESPN, players came to Gillette Stadium for a round of testing on Saturday morning after Newton tested positive on Friday night. Players were then sent home and told to stay by their phones for more information on their travel schedule.
Although the team hasn't had any more positive results, that doesn't necessarily mean that more cases won't pop up. This week, this NFL saw its first outbreak with the Tennessee Titans. The Titans game with Pittsburgh has been postponed after several players and coaches tested positive. Those results, however, have trickled in all week. For example, on Saturday, Tennessee had another player and two more staff members test positive to bring the total to 16 positive tests split between eight players and eight coaches.
The Patriots' timeline is similar to Tennessee, who had one player test positive last Friday but had no more positive results. The Titans played against the Minnesota Vikings. By Tuesday, the team saw three more results and eventually, the NFL rescheduled their game that was set for this weekend.
Of course, that doesn't mean that'll be case with the Patriots. Last week, the Atlanta Falcons saw A.J. Terrell test positive on Saturday. All others tested negative and the Falcons played the Chicago Bears. Atlanta did not have any other positive results this past week.
In making the announcement that Sunday's game has been postponed, the NFL also said there were positive tests on "both teams."
Right now, the Patriots and NFL are proceeding with caution. All options are on the table and that includes canceling the game completely.
This marks the first Patriots player to test positive for COVID this year. The league started testing on July 27. The NFL has seen players and coaches test positive dating back to the summer, but the Patriots were one of the few teams to have no positive results.
If the game is played this week, the Patriots will be without a quarterback who has looked like the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. In three games, Newton has completed 68.1% of his passes for 714 yards, two passing touchdowns to go with two interceptions. He also has 149 rushing yards to go with four rushing touchdowns, which leads the NFL.
This news also means the Patriots would start either Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham at Arrowhead Stadium. This season, Hoyer has been the backup to Newton for all three games while Stidham has been inactive. The Pats also have quarterback Jake Dolegala on their practice squad.
Under NFL rules, Newton will be out either five or 10 days depending on multiple variables. So, it's possible the quarterback also misses the Patriots next game against Denver.
If a player is asymptomatic, he can return after five days have passed if he receives two consecutive negative test results at least 24 hours apart. If he doesn't, he has to wait 10 days to return. If the player has symptoms, he can return after 10 days if he's gone at least 72 hours since he last experienced symptoms.