Report: Titans face fine, avoid harsher penalties after NFL investigation into COVID-19 outbreak

Jason Owens
·2-min read

The Tennessee Titans are expected to face a fine from the NFL but avoid harsher penalties such as draft-pick forfeitures after a league investigation into the team’s COVID-19 outbreak, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

According to the report, the league found that Titans facilities were in compliance with NFL COVID-19 protocols, but found that some individuals did not follow the league’s mask mandates. The league also found “insufficient communication” around an off-site workout that some players reportedly participated in after team facilities were closed.

No individuals face punishment, per the report.

Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen, left, and head coach Mike Vrabel watch players.
The Titans reportedly will avoid a draft-pick forfeiture after the NFL found team facilities to be in compliance with league protocols. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean via AP, Pool, File)

Titans’ outbreak rocked NFL

An outbreak that reportedly resulted in at least 24 confirmed COVID-19 cases among players and team staff forced the postponement of two Titans games and prompted a larger reshuffling of the NFL schedule, impacting several teams.

Tennessee’s Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was moved to Week 7 after the initial outbreak at team facilities. Its Week 5 game against the Buffalo Bills was moved from Sunday to Tuesday.

The Titans returned in Week 5 to defeat the Bills on Tuesday and beat the Houston Texans on Sunday to improve to 5-0. They are among three remaining unbeaten teams alongside the Steelers and Seattle Seahawks.

NFL stiffens COVID-19 protocol penalties

The NFL has ramped up its rhetoric around COVID-19 protocols and punishment since outbreaks have impacted multiple teams starting in Week 4. The Titans’ outbreak was the largest and most scrutinized thanks in part to the reported offsite workout in violation of NFL protocols.

The league has threatened teams with draft pick forfeitures and even game forfeitures if violations of the league’s COVID-19 mandates force schedule changes. The NFL reportedly didn’t find violations that warranted drastic measures.

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