The NFL’s mandate to proceed with the New England Patriots’ Monday night matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week Four of the 2020 season is reaping the wrath of its consequences.
After starting quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19 last Friday night, the Patriots now have a second confirmed case within the organization. As first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, cornerback Stephon Gilmore has also tested positive for COVID-19. He will be now placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. New England’s star cornerback joins Newton and practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray, whose positive test result was announced on Tuesday.
In light of Gilmore’s positive test, the Patriots have decided to cancel their practice on Wednesday. Exactly how this might impact the team’s plans to host the Denver Broncos on Sunday is still anyone’s guess. Given the NFL’s recent behavioral pattern, they will almost certainly prefer to play the game on Sunday, even at the expense of further spread and infection. Apparently, only an outbreak, such as the likes we are seeing with the Tennessee Titans will be enough to force the hand of the league office. Should further positive tests emerge, they might not have a choice.
It should be noted that Tuesday’s round of testing has revealed Gilmore as the only player to have tested positive for the virus. The NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year and New England’s top cornerback, and is coming off of a stellar performance against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night. His temporary loss on the defensive side of the ball, will be felt, as was the absence of Cam Newton on offense.
Still, the most important concern is his health, and that of the other Patriots players and staff members. Gilmore was also in very close contact with a number of Kansas City’s players throughout Monday’s game. There is undoubtedly significant concerns for the health and safety of the Chiefs’ roster and personnel, as well.
While ongoing, the situation is not only concering, but also (sadly) might have been avoidable.
-Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and Columnist for Full Press Coverage. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. He is also the host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC