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Goodell Memo: NFL COVID-19 Positives ‘Not Unexpected,’ Diligence Needed

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The Steelers’ Week 4 game at the Tennessee Titans finds itself in jeopardy on Tuesday after eight members of the Titans tested positive for COVID-19 following their win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Those eight positive tests have resulted in 48 additional individuals requiring additional testing before they can return to work, according to ESPN, and the shut down of the Titans’ facility until at least Saturday.

The Titans may be forced to deal with limited or no team practice time in between Tuesday’s announcement and Sunday’s game, which has prompted the NFL to consider moving it to Monday night.

In the meantime, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all teams on Tuesday. The memo, acquired by Steelers Now, acknowledges that the league expected that there would be some positive tests as they attempted to play the 2020 season, but that further diligence will be required in order to keep the Titans’ outbreak from impacting entire league.

Earlier today, we learned that three players and five non-player staff at the Tennessee Titans had tested positive for Covid-19. We immediately shared that information with the clubs and the NFLPA and have issued the attached press release.

This is not unexpected; as Dr. Sills and others have emphasized, there will be players and staff who will test positive during the season. In response to these positive tests, we immediately took the following steps under the protocols agreed to with the NFLPA:

• Players and staff who have tested positive will be isolated, carefully monitored, and given all necessary medical care. Per our protocols, family members of these players and staff will also be offered testing as well.

• We have reviewed contact tracing data to identify any close contacts of the players and staff who tested positive; have isolated those individuals; and each will receive additional testing.

• We have contacted the game officials and others who worked at Sunday’s game in Minnesota and will do follow-up testing and monitoring for those individuals.

• We will suspend in-person activities in both Tennessee and Minnesota (the team Tennessee played last weekend) pending further developments. Thus far, there have been no positive tests or reports of symptoms among Minnesota players or staff.

• We are exploring in more detail the nature of the close contacts to determine where they occurred (locker room, flights, etc.), and identify any additional learnings that can be shared with all clubs.

These results confirm the need to remain diligent in implementing all of our health and safety protocols to the fullest extent. This includes not only our testing program, but facility maintenance, wearing of PPE by players and staff, and carefully regulating behavior and contacts outside of the club facility. It is also critical to remind everyone in your organization — players and non-players — immediately to report any symptoms that they have, or that family members or others with whom they arc in close contact have, to your club physician or Infection Control Officer.

In addition, clubs should revisit the steps they have taken to minimize the number of close contacts, particularly while traveling and within position groups, and should review their procedures for bringing in new players for tryouts and possible signing.

Each of us has a special responsibility to keep others safe and healthy. What each of us does affects not only ourselves and our immediate families, but many others on our own club and on other clubs.

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NFL

Report: Bengals Trade Carlos Dunlap to Seahawks for B.J. Finney, Draft Pick

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The Cincinnati Bengals are reportedly shipping defensive end Carlos Dunlap to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman B.J. Finney and a seventh-round pick, according to multiple reports.

Dunlap has been used sparingly by Cincinnati this season, causing a rift between the player and the organization. Tempers boiled over during the Bengals’ 37-34 loss to the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, as Dunlap was seen arguing with a coach on the sideline toward the end of the game.

Cincinnati will happy to distances themselves from Dunlap and bolster their offensive line in return, which has allowed the most sacks in the league with 28.

Dunlap appears equally as eager to leave Cincinnati, posting the following video on his Instagram after news of the trade broke.

As for Seattle, they add some much-needed pass rush help to a defense that has just nine sacks on the season and is second-worst in the league against the pass. Finney had not played a single offensive snap for the Seahawks this season, but was utilized on special teams.

Selected in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Dunlap has spent his entire eleven-year career with Cincinnati and been selected to two Pro Bowls. He is the Bengals’ all-time leader in sacks (82.5) and tackles-for-loss (103).

Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Steelers in 2015, Finney played four seasons in Pittsburgh as a plug-and-play offensive lineman before signing with Seattle this offseason. He started 13 games over his Steeler career.

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NFL

NFL, NFLPA Announce 19 New Positives From Last Testing Period

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The NFL and NFLPA have announced their latest COVID-19 results from their most recent testing period.

The league had 19 new positive cases between Oct. 18 to 24. There were eight new positive tests among players and eleven among staff members.

In total, 42,687 total tests were administered to 7,817 players and personnel over the seven-day period.

The NFL has had 55 positives from players and 82 among personnel dating back to Aug. 1. Over 500,000 total tests have been administered.

Tier 1 and 2 individuals continue to be tested daily, white Tier 3 personnel are being tested on a weekly basis.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not had any coronavirus-related issues since running back Jaylen Samuels was removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 list back on Aug. 13.

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Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. Suffers Torn ACL

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The Cleveland Browns may have improved to 5-2 with their comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, but they suffered a significant loss.

Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will miss the remainder of the 2020 season with a torn ACL, the organization announced Monday morning.

Beckham suffered the injury in the first quarter of Cleveland’s win over Cincinnati on Sunday, attempting to make a tackle on an interception thrown by quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The star wideout was off to a strong star in his second season with the Browns, catching 23 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns. He also had rushed for a score.

While the loss of Beckham is significant, the Browns appear to have enough offensive weapons to overcome the injury. Mayfield posted one of the best performances of his career on Sunday, completing 22 of 23 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns after Beckham left the game.

Financially, Cleveland is still likely on the hook for Beckham’s $12.971 injury guarantee, which will convert to a full guarantee if he is rostered on the third day of the next league year, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. This means that Beckham is uncuttable, and a trade is very unlikely considering the injury.

Selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, Beckham has caught 487 passes for 6,830 and 51 touchdowns over his career. He has been selected to three Pro Bowls, but not since 2016.

The Steelers and Browns do not face off again until Week 17 in Cleveland.

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