Tennessee Titans’ preparations for the upcoming 2021 NFL season have taken a huge hit after nine of their players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19, including their starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The infected individuals are now in a race against time to be ready for their season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on September 12.
On Thursday, Titans general manager Jon Robinson announced that apart from Tannehill, two other starters were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, linebacker Justin March-Lillard and tight end Geoff Swaim. The other players placed on the reserve list for Tennessee due to the coronavirus were linebackers Nick Dzubnar and Harold Landry, running back Jeremy McNichols, and defensive tackle Anthony Rush.
Vrabel among those infected with COVID-19 in Titans’ staff
Tennessee’s coaching staff wasn’t spared in the outbreak, as head coach Mike Vrabel revealed last Sunday that he also tested positive for COVID-19. He shared the diagnosis a day after the Titans defeated the Bucs, 34-3, in their preseason clash.
On Thursday, Vrabel also spoke to reporters via a Zoom video call, telling them that even though he is feeling well after receiving monoclonal antibodies treatment, he still has not gotten a negative COVID-19 test since his positive diagnosis. Vrabel also shared that special teams coach Craig Aukerman was also placed in the COVID-19 protocol.
Vrabel and Aukerman have missed the Titans’ practices the past two days, and they both will not be available for Tennessee’s preseason game on Saturday against the Chicago Bears.
In their statements on Thursday, Robinson and Vrabel made it clear that even though there is an outbreak in their organization, the Titans have strictly followed the protocols that the NFL set. Robinson added that approximately 97 or 98 percent of the Titans are now vaccinated against COVID-19.
Will Ryan Tannehill recover just in time for Week 1 start against Arizona?
Vrabel said that he is proud of the Titans’ high vaccination rate and that being vaccinated appears to have eased the symptoms brought upon by the coronavirus not only for himself but also for the other Tennessee players that are sick with COVID-19 right now.
Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is one of those players, and he is fortunate to have gotten the vaccine at the start of training camp. Tannehill told reporters then that he wouldn’t have gotten the jab, but the NFL forced his hand by instituting strict protocols for the unvaccinated.
Because of that decision, Tannehill will only miss five to 10 days, depending on how quickly he can produce two negative COVID-19 tests over a two-day period. That is more than enough time for Tannehill to recover and start for the Titans in Week 1 against the Cardinals.
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