Friday’s presumptive positive COVID-19 test was nothing more than a false alarm as it turns out.
After an unnamed Jets player received a positive test, the team sent coaches and players home from their Florham Park, N.J., facility early in the day, casting doubt on the game against the Cardinals at MetLife Stadium going on as scheduled. But Friday night, the Jets announced that everyone had tested negative and the contest against the Cardinals would not be postponed.
“This evening, we received negative PCR COVID-19 test results for all players, coaches and personnel,” the team said in a statement. “Following a presumptive positive COVID-19 test and out of an abundance of caution to ensure everyone’s health and safety, we sent all players and personnel home this morning. We also initiated all NFL mandated protocols including player isolation, subsequent testing, and contact tracing.
“As we have thus far, we will continue to follow required health and safety protocols in the best interests of our coaches, players, staff and community. We look forward to our game this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.”
The Jets players and coaches conducted their team meetings virtually on Friday, but there was no practice. Joe Flacco will be making his first start as a Jet, replacing injured starter Sam Darnold (sprained AC joint in his right shoulder), and running back Le’Veon Bell is expected to return from a hamstring injury that cost him three games while on the Injured List as Gang Green hopes to earn its first victory of the season.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, did fly across the country early Friday evening in hope of the game being played on time. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM he talked to Jets general manager Joe Douglas and owner Michael Bidwill had spoken to the NFL as the Jets awaited test results.
“As long as it follows all the protocols, I’m in favor of playing the game on time,” Keim said.
The virus has begun to create chaos in the league. The Titans-Steelers game last Sunday was postponed until Oct. 25 after a breakout within the Titans that has now risen to 23 players and staff members. The NFL is looking into whether Tennessee violated COVID-19 protocols. Titans insider Paul Kuharsky reported on Wednesday several players had an organized workout at a local high school last week when the team was supposed to be in quarantine.
The Patriots-Chiefs game was moved back from last Sunday to Monday after quarterback Cam Newton tested positive. On Wednesday, star cornerback Stephon Gilmore also tested positive for the virus. Already this week, two games have been moved back, the Titans-Bills until Tuesday and the Patriots-Broncos until Monday. The Bills-Chiefs contest, which was scheduled for this coming Thursday, is also being moved to Oct. 18, a Sunday, to give the team proper time to recover.
The Patriots and Titans have been able to practice all week, but neither had a new positive test on Friday, and as of now both are on track to play early next week. The Jets received similar good news and now Sunday’s game against the Cardinals remains on.
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