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NFL Expands COVID-19 Protocols; Threatens Draft Pick Loss, Forfeits for Violations

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The first player on the Tennessee Titans to test positive for COVID-19 over a week ago was a recently signed member of the practice squad, and while it has not been confirmed that’s how the outbreak that ended up postponing the Steelers’ game with the Titans in Week 4, the NFL has changed its protocols to make sure something like that can’t happen in the future.

In a memo to teams sent out on Monday, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that in conjunction with the NFLPA, the league has modified its protocol with regards to bringing new players onto teams in the middle of the season.

Currently, free agent tryouts must go through 48 hours of quarantining and testing before working out at the team’s facility. Goodell’s memo said that time period will be increased, but did not specify exactly how long the new time period will be.

Goodell also said there will be a limitation on the total number of tryouts a team can hold in a particular week.

Additionally, gatherings outside the team facility will not be permitted and the league will implement video monitoring to ensure that the personal protective equipment mandate is being following inside team facilities.

The league has already fined coaches and players for non-compliance with the PPE policy.

Goodell said that protocol violations that result in the spread of the virus that require adjustments to the schedule or impact other teams will result in “additional financial and competitive discipline, including the adjustment or loss of draft choices or even the forfeit of a game.”

“Simply put, compliance is mandatory,” the memo closed. “Now is the time to recommit ourselves to our protocols and best practices for the duration of the season.”

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, 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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