Just when the New England Patriots thought they were out, COVID-19 pulled them back in.
As first reported by Ryan Spagnoli (Pats Pulpit, of SB Nation), and later confirmed by ESPN’s Field Yates and Mike reiss, the New England Patriots have canceled Friday’s practice (and subsequent player interviews) after a positive COVID-19 test.
Per reports, the Patriots are also awaiting confirmation on a second positive test.
The disheartening news of this latest positive test comes one day after quarterback Cam Newton, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray practiced for the first time after being taken off the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Patriots had been scheduled to practice Friday at 1 p.m. ET., with player media availability shortly thereafter. Team officials have indicated that players will be made available to the media via video conference following Sunday’s game, at the earliest.
Team facilities had been shut down by the team since learning that DT Byron Cowart had tested positive last week. The facilities remained closed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, before players returned Wednesday for conditioning work. According to Reiss, Patriots players had previously said they had only been inside the facility for weightlifting the past few days, with all meetings being held virtually. The team’s first practice of the week was Thursday.
Also, on Friday afternoon, reserve offensive lineman James Ferentz was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the team. This has led to speculation that Ferentz might have been the player to test positive, however it has yet to be confirmed. Players placed on reserve/COVID-19 are not limited to those simply having tested positive. It is possible that Ferentz was placed on the list after having been in close contact with someone that has. On Wednesday, when the Patriots submitted a projected injury report (had they practiced) they listed Ferentz as someone who would not have participated for non-injury reasons. Ferentz was present as a participant in Patriots’ practice on Thursday.
The Patriots are scheduled to host the Denver Broncos on Sunday at 1pm at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. As reported by ESPN’s Dianna Russini, all NFL games for this week remain on schedule.
Of course, much can happen between now and Sunday’s potential kickoff, as we know all too well.
-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