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NFL Testing Partner Blames Contamination for False Positives, 77 Test Negative

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The NFL’s COVID-19 testing partner BioReference Laboratories has identified an “isolated contamination” as the cause for the elevated number of positive test results among NFL players and staff this weekend.

According to Jon R. Cohen, M.D., Executive Director of BioReference Laboratories, their investigation “indicated that these were most likely false positive results, caused by an isolated contamination during test preparation in the New Jersey laboratory.”

Cohen also announced that all 77 players and staff members in question have since tested negative, meaning those held out for precautionary reasons this weekend can return to the practice field.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers held six players out of practice on Saturday evening, which general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed was part of league COVID-19 protocols. Running back James Conner and defensive end Stephon Tuitt were the two most notable players to be sidelined on Saturday, but their absences have not explicitly been explained as related to the testing snafu.

The team has not had to place a player on the COVID-19 reserve list since removing and activating running back Jaylen Samuels back on Aug. 13.

Pittsburgh was not alone in being disrupted by this weekend’s testing issues, as the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets also faced similar challenges.

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