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Cameron Brate talks about his COVID-19 case, opt-outs, and mitigated risk around the NFL

The Bucs tight end says his off season workouts were a “calculated risk”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New York Giants
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers tight end and COVID-19 survivor
Getty Images

Since the Buccaneers tight end released his COVID-19 PSA video, he’s had a lot to answer for regarding his own COVID-19 case. How did he get it? Is he worried about spreading it to his teammates? Did he know he had it during his off season workouts with Tom Brady?

Brate started off his PSA video posted to Instagram by saying:

The Corona virus pandemic has had a devastating effect on our population. And it continues to impact nearly every aspect of our lives.

This couldn’t be closer to the truth, and when Brate was asked about his own experience, he told reporters that he got infected by his fiancee whom he lives with. He also stated that by not having more severe symptoms, he would have just gone on with life potentially infecting more people.

I actually initially tested negative, but at some point, I guess I contracted it from her and I later became infected. For me personally, the only thing I experienced was a loss of taste for two days.

I am extremely grateful that I wasn’t one of the people who got some of the more severe symptoms. But I will say the kind of scary thing is if she hadn’t tested positive, I kind of would have gone on with my life as normal and potentially infected other people.

Brate continued to address the time frame of his COVID-19 case.

I got sick a couple months ago. I don’t know the date off of the top of my head or anything.

As soon as Brooke, my fiancée, started showing symptoms, we both kind of shut it down at that point and didn’t really go outside the house. For me, I got infected after that so luckily I wasn’t in close contact with anyone while I was contagious.”

Brate also discussed his thoughts on the virus spreading throughout the team.

Yeah, I think that possibility is definitely really scary, not just for the players but for the coaches and personnel in the building who are around the players, as well. Not everyone involved who is at the building is going to be young and healthy. There are going to be people who have some underlying risk involved, so it’s going to be super important for everyone to do the best they can to try to avoid any interactions outside the building – really don’t go out to eat [and] obviously don’t go out to the bars or anything like that, but that goes without saying.

As for those workouts a few months back, the veteran tight end acknowledged there was hesitation in working out with teammates. But he states they were very careful.

Yeah, it was definitely something we talked about. We tried to figure out the best way to go about doing it.

We just try to avoid the risk and exposure we had to each other as much as possible. We weren’t huddling up and we weren’t hugging each other or anything like that. We were just having a little catch outside, so it was kind of calculated risk I would say that we took in that regard.

Brate further confirmed that there were around 10 off season workouts led by the future Hall of Fame quarterback, so there was real concern over his level of exposure but he provided reassurance that he did not put anyone at risk.

The way things worked out, I already was in quarantine before I had a positive test or anything. I think the guys continued to workout and luckily I wasn’t putting anyone at risk, which is great.

As the players have reported to training camp, they were required to receive 2 negative test results before entering the facility. Other than Brate, all of the other players that attended the workouts have not tested positive, so apparently the risk has in fact been mitigated.

The protocols in place by the league will help with that as well throughout camp. And Brate is on board with the direction the NFL is going with the health and safety of the teams.

It’s awesome. I think the NFL and the NFLPA did an awesome job working together, creating the safest environment that they could for us. There’s going to be risk involved because you can’t social distance playing football.

I think outside of actually playing, the facility is probably one of the safest spots you can really be in. The way they’ve reconfigured everything and the protocols they put in place, guys should feel as safe as they possibly could when they’re in the building.

Being such a hot topic, the player opt-outs are a large part of how the season will pan out for teams across the NFL. Fortunately, none of Tampa’s players have decided to opt-out. Brate was asked about why that is.

Everyone’s entitled to make their own decision – what’s best for them and those closest to them. I’ve seen people across the league decide to opt-out and sometimes you read the comments and there will be a lot of negative stuff about their decision. That’s super discouraging to see. How could you fault someone for putting their health and their family’s health first?

Selfishly, for our team, I hope no one opts out. The more of our guys we have, the better. But, if someone does make that decision, I totally respect it and I stand with them in that decision for sure.

The Bucs tight end also stated that he is officially opting in.

I’m going to play. It’s a little easier having already had Corona virus.

With the testing protocols, policies and procedures the NFL and NFLPA have put in place, there is a higher level of reassurance that that the players, coaches and staff have now that the risk for contracting COVID-19 is heavily mitigated and controlled while in training camp.

In an article published last week by Bucs Nation writer David Harrison, Coach Arians made statements about his reassurances.

I don’t think our guys are going to get sick in the locker room. I don’t think they’ll get sick in our facility. Everybody here is tested...they’re clean. If it’s going to happen it’s going to happen outside of the facility.

As long as the coaches and players, like Brate, are continuing to promote accountability and responsibility, the risk should continue to remain mitigated and football will stay alive in Tampa Bay for the 2020 season. Especially in a city that needs a lot of hope and inspiration while dealing with some of the largest COVID-19 numbers in the country.