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Report: Broncos vs. Patriots ‘In Question’ After NE’s Facility Closed Amid COVID

Winslow Townson/Associated PressThe NFL shut down the New England Patriots’ practice facility Sunday following its fourth positive test for COVID-19 in the past eight days, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.Schefter and ESPN’s Field Yates reported the situation has put Monday’s scheduled game against the Denver Broncos “in question.”Adam Schefter @AdamSchefterPatriots had one new positive test…

FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton runs against the Las Vegas Raiders during an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Mass. For the second straight week the New England Patriots are heading into a game after having their preparations disrupted by a teammate contracting coronavirus.  Last week it was Cam Newton, who tested positive two days before their matchup with Kansas City and was forced to sit out.(AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)

Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The NFL shut down the New England Patriots‘ practice facility Sunday following its fourth positive test for COVID-19 in the past eight days, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter and ESPN’s Field Yates reported the situation has put Monday’s scheduled game against the Denver Broncos “in question.”

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Patriots had one new positive test this morning, source tells ESPN. Their building is now shut down while further testing is conducted.

The Patriots worked remotely Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Cam Newton, Stephon Gilmore and defensive tackle Bill Murray are on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

The game had already been pushed back from Sunday to Monday. Schefter reported the current plan remains in place, but that could shift if more New England players test positive for COVID-19.

James White @SweetFeet_White

🥴🤔 https://t.co/UvNO2Neh2R

Tom E. Curran @tomecurran

The sense I’ve gotten as the week has gone on is the Patriots aren’t going to let the NFL unilaterally decide whether or not this game is played. If players and coaches aren’t comfortable, they won’t play.

The Patriots are on bye in Week 6 and the Broncos in Week 8, so there is no natural place in the schedule to move the game. It’s likely the league would reconfigure the schedule of both teams, along with a couple of opponents, similar to how it did with last week’s Pittsburgh SteelersTennessee Titans game.

After opening the regular season with three straight weeks of mostly normal football, the NFL has been scrambling in Weeks 4 and 5 amid outbreaks. The positive tests have cast further negative light on the NFL’s plan to essentially move forward without tangible backup plans in place.

The league could have baked extra bye weeks into the schedule to account for the potential of delayed games but chose a standard 17-week slate. The NFL also could have pushed more for hard bubbles, which have proved safe for several other pro sports leagues that have returned. While there are logistical issues inherent to a bubble idea—the NFL likely would have needed regional bubbles, rather than one large bubble, because of the number of people teams employ—it would have been safer and led to less chaos.

As it stands, the NFL is having to scramble every week, all while leaving teams in a state of uncertainty about their status within a day of a scheduled game.

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