Sunday morning brings an unusual and difficult situation for the NFL. Despite teams all over the league expecting to wake up and practice this morning, the league is dealing with a rash of positive tests at one analysis laboratory.
The nature of the positive tests is unknown, but the fact that there are multiple positive tests across every team whose samples are sent to this lab suggests that there may be something unusual going on. Indeed, several teams are reporting that follow-up test results were negative, suggesting a rash of false positives at this lab. The Chicago Bears, for example, had all nine individuals who tested positive come up negative on their next test, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Here is the formal statement put out by the NFL about the situation:
Saturday’s daily COVID testing returned several positives tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey. We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests. Clubs are taking immediate precautionary measures as outlined in the NFL-NFLPA’s health and safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolation of individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, where appropriate. The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results.
For now, the Green Bay Packers are still planning to take the field as scheduled. This may be due to the team using a different service for their testing, though head coach Matt LaFleur did say earlier in camp that the team uses a New Jersey-based lab. It could also be that the team has already received confirmation that any positive results from Saturday were false positives, similar to the Bears.
In either case, the Packers are still headed towards practice at 10:30 AM Central Time. Keep it here for updates throughout practice and during expected player availability afterwards.