The Patriots reported to training camp nearly two weeks ago, but they haven't really started "TRAINING CAMP" yet. That begins Monday when the first padded practices are held.
Plenty of people predicted the league would never get to this point.
And, when Monday rolls around, plenty more will predict the bell is about to toll for the league. The futility of trying to play football during a pandemic and not have a spate of players test positive? Won't happen.
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But two weeks in, it's worth digging into all the numbers to get a read on how it's gone.
As of Tuesday, 107 of the league's players had gone on the league's Reserve/COVID-19 list, according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero.
Eighty players have been activated off the list and 27 players are still on it which - as Pelissero points out - is less than one percent of the league's roster. Only six players were placed on the list from last Friday through Monday.
A player doesn't necessarily need to test positive to land on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Close contact with a COVID-Positive individual will also land a player there to serve a quarantine period during which he'll be tested. He must twice test negative for the virus if that's the reason he's on the list.
Also, an asymptomatic player who tests positive will be removed from the list if he takes two additional tests in the ensuing 24 hours and both come back negative. That's a tweak to the process that came about after Lions quarterback Matt Stafford had a false positive last week that landed him on the Reserve list.
The Patriots are one of five teams with no players having gone on the list. Arizona, Carolina, Houston and the Chargers are the others. Interestingly, aside from the Patriots, all are in areas that have flared up this summer.
There have been no reported hospitalizations of players due to the virus. Meanwhile, Cameron Smith of the Vikings feels "blessed" after he tested positive because further tests revealed a congenital heart condition that he was unaware of. Smith will have surgery to repair the condition.
Earlier this week I found out I need open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve that I was born with. Although this will unfortunately end my 2020 season, it is really a blessing that we found this as my heart is severely enlarged and wouldn't have lasted much longer. I found this out after I tested positive for COVID and had to have further testing done as protocol. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but I could really feel him on this one!🙏🏻 There is a surgery that will allow me to continue to play football as soon as I am healed and cleared and I didn't think twice about going with that one. By no means am I ready to be done playing football, there is still so much more I want to accomplish on the field. Im going to attack this like everything else I have in life. Already looking forward to the comeback! #SKOL
A post shared by Cam (@_killacam) on Aug 8, 2020 at 12:22pm PDT
While the testing numbers are undeniably encouraging, players who do have COVID have been sidelined for long spells before being cleared to return.
As of Tuesday, 20 players had been out for at least 12 days. Combined, the 20 had been on for 264 days, a 13.2 day average. The 107 total players missed a total of 816 days, an average of 7.7 days per player.
There's no getting around the fact that, undoubtedly with some exceptions, the NFL, the coaches and the players are working really hard to make it work. And it's working.
But they're not taking victory laps. Saints coach Sean Payton, who had COVID in the offseason, hasn't had a player contract the illness since camp began (two of his players tested positive, were on the Reserve/COVID list then tested off, an indication of a false positive).
"I'm proud and glad that we haven't had a positive test," Payton told USA Today's Jarrett Bell. "But you need to know something: Just when you think everything is good, bam! We'll have eight," Payton said. "That's how this guy works. This isn't like we've got this figured out. Man, we don't have this figured out."
So far, it's been positive news for NFL on COVID front originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston