The unpredictable era of COVID-19 in the NFL continues with the regular season only two weeks away. The Tennessee Titans are in the middle of an outbreak after nine members of the team and coaching staff tested positive this week, including starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and head coach Mike Vrabel.
The Titans have 97% of their team fully vaccinated, so these are considered breakthrough cases. All players can return to the mix if they text negative twice within a 24-hour period using PCR tests.
A vaccinated Tannehill could return in time for the Titans preseason game this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons, but the Titans said he’ll sit out no matter what. Backup QB Matt Barkley will get the start against Atlanta.
“He’ll be engaged in the meetings,” said general manager Jon Robinson about Tannehill. “He’ll ready to go. A pro and has played in the league for a long time. We have the utmost confidence in him and his ability to prepare.”
On Thursday, the Titans placed Tannehill, linebacker Justin March-Lillard, and tight end Geoff Swaim on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. A total of seven Titans are on the reserve list, including Anthony Rush, Harold Landry, Nick Dzubnar, and Jeremy McNichols.
On Sunday, Titans head coach Vrabel tested positive for COVID along with another unidentified Titans staff member. “We’ve followed the protocols,” added Robinson. “Our medical team has done an outstanding job with talking to the league and the players, coaches.”
Last season, the Titans also survived a COVID outbreak at their practice facility. The NFL fined them $350,000 for violating health and safety protocols. The Titans are the betting favorite to win the AFC South at -115 odds. You can back them to win Super Bowl 56 at +3000 odds.