NFL COVID-19 testing to continue daily, including bye weeks

The Tennessee Titans are the first team to suffer a COVID-19 outbreak this season.
AP/Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved

NEW YORK — The NFL and its players’ union have agreed to continue daily COVID-19 testing except on game days until further notice.

The league also told teams daily testing will be required for players and coaches during their clubs’ bye weeks to help mitigate spread of the virus. That means players and coaches will have to stick around during the bye, according to the memo sent Friday to all 32 teams and obtained by The Associated Press.

The NFL sent a memo to teams Thursday detailing new procedures for teams dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak or exposed to a team having an outbreak. The Tennessee Titans are the league’s first team with an outbreak during the season with 14 positives among players and personnel over the past week.

The NFL also reminded teams Friday that the league’s agreement with the NFL Players Association in August means players who miss tests can be punished with a $50,000 fine for a first missed test and a one-game suspension without pay for a second missed test. Additional missed tests can lead to further discipline.

Any player or coach who misses a daily test without prior approval during the bye week will have to have five negative PCR tests 24 hours apart before being allowed back inside his team’s facility. That puts them at risk for further punishment.