With Falcons cornerback AJ Terrell becoming the first player to land on the COVID-19 / reserve roster during the regular season, this move isn’t necessarily the end of the story – and it just might just be the beginning.
Mark Maske du Washington Post reports that the NFL is “hoping” that Sunday’s Bears-Falcons game goes as planned. The positive test for Terrell sparked contact tracing and other tests that, in theory, could result in more Falcons players testing positive before the game began at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
It’s a wait-and-see situation. Some anonymous sources who spoke to Maske were confident there won’t be any problems. Others said the test results, which will be available Sunday morning, “will guide all of this.”
The league has super-flexible roster rules in place this season. In the event of an outbreak, teams can promote up to 16 practice squad members as little as 90 minutes before kick-off.
The commissioner has created a committee of external advisers to help him resolve COVID-19 issues. As a source explained to PFT before the start of the season, the committee (and in turn the commissioner) will not be inclined to grant waivers in the form of postponement or cancellation to a team that suddenly loses multiple players due to COVID. -19 positive result. Football is the ultimate “next man in place” sport, and the Falcons will need to reload the various positions on the pitch with players in order to proceed with 11 on offense, 11 on defense and 11 on special teams.
The league has not established definitive figures as to the minimum number of players a team must have in good health and available for match days. The league will take all relevant facts and circumstances into account when considering postponing or canceling a game.
If the Bears-Falcons game is postponed, it’s unclear when it would be played. The teams have byes in different weeks, eliminating the possibility of making it to the game on the weekend when both teams would otherwise be absent.