At least two Buccaneers players have tested positive for COVID-19, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Saturday afternoon:
At least two Buccaneers’ players now have tested positive for COVID-19, per sources. Earlier this week one Buccaneers’ coach tested positive and two other assistants were quarantined. So add Tampa to the growing list of teams and schools with positive COVID-19 tests.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 20, 2020
This comes just a couple of days after it was reported that an assistant coach had tested positive for the virus, which has continued to impact the state of Florida at a rapid, record-breaking rate. The coaching staff had just returned to the AdventHealth Training Center this week. It’s worth mentioning that players and coaches aren’t yet allowed in contact, so these new reported cases would appear to be unrelated to the earlier reported case.
After Schefter’s report came out, the Bucs confirmed the news in a statement:
Statement from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers regarding COVID-19: pic.twitter.com/eMv2AAb8g4— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 20, 2020
It’s interesting to note that team headquarters will not be closing, as we’ve seen with other teams and programs in the Tampa Bay area. Because, as Schefter mentioned in his tweet, the Bucs are just the latest team in the sports world to report positive tests. Just this week, we’ve seen the USF football team, the Philadelphia Phillies (who were training in Clearwater), the Toronto Blue Jays (who were training in Dunedin) and the Tampa Bay Lightning all confirm cases within their respective teams and organizations. The latter three have shut down training, while USF’s workouts have continued.
As numbers decline in some parts of the country, Florida’s cases are reaching new heights. The state (and Hillsborough County with it) has been recording record-highs seemingly every day as of late. On Saturday, a record 4,049 cases were announced by the state, with over 400 coming in Hillsborough County.
This is all troubling, of course, for the health of people everywhere. And on a more minor note (although one that is near and dear to all of our hearts), it’s bad news for the sports world. As leagues begin to return to play, it’s becoming clear that this pandemic simply isn’t going away. Part of the rise in cases can be attributed to more testing, sure, but it doesn’t take much research to see just how many people still aren’t taking the virus seriously. Just look at the replies to Schefter’s tweet for proof of that.
So, what this means for the Bucs, the NFL and sports as a whole remains to be seen. But it’s becoming obvious that any type of season that does happen surely won’t be a normal one. For the time being, Bucs fans, listen to your head coach. It says a lot that he’s still having to put out this type of PSA with the same steps we’ve been hearing about for months.