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Buccaneers could face COVID fallout

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel tests positive for COVID-19 following joint practices, game against Tampa Bay

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Following two joint practices and a preseason game in Tampa, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel told the media he’s tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated. Vrabel told reporters he woke up with a sore throat and tested positive on Sunday.

Now, we’ve seen false positives in the past so this could be a false alarm. Vrabel would have to have two negative tests in the next 48 hours to determine whether the initial test was false or not.

If he does indeed have COVID, there is some fallout that could come the Bucs way. Vrabel was obviously a close contact with many of his players - which in turn were around the Buccaneers - but he spent extensive time speaking with Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and his son, Jack, following practices. Brady and Vrabel were teammates in New England.

Vrabel also spent time riding with head coach Bruce Arians in his golf cart during those two joint sessions. According to ESPN’s Jenna Laine, the Bucs are working with the NFL to determine who is considered a “close contact” with Vrabel and the steps that need to be taken from there;

Based on the results of contact tracing, there are steps that need to be implemented based on whether or not a player is vaccinated. If the player or coach isn’t vaccinated they must enter quarantine immediately.

With a little more than two weeks to go before the season begins, you would hope that first and foremost everyone is healthy and doesn’t suffer major effects from the virus. Second, that no one would miss the opener on Thursday, September 9th.

Arians told the media he expected the team to be “close to” 100% vaccinated once the roster had been whittled down to 53 players. Brady has been vaccinated but will certainly be monitored moving forward based on the contact tracing results.

Right now, everyone is in “wait and see” mode based on the Bucs’ and the NFL’s contract tracing determinations, the people involved, and the proper steps needed based on their status. More news on this story is sure to come as the week progresses.