Detroit Lions have gone 11 days without a positive COVID-19 test: ‘I feel safe’

Detroit Free Press

Duron Harmon is like a lot of parents, trying to decide right now whether to send his oldest son, Christopher, to school this fall.

“We still haven’t made up our mind,” the Detroit Lions safety said in a video conference Tuesday. “This is just an ongoing conversation. We actually have a meeting with the school soon, so it’s something that we want to keep discussing and probably won’t be something that we decide probably until like a day or two before.”

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging across the country, Harmon said he’s taken a cue from the Lions training staff and come up with a list of questions to ask school administrators about how they plan to keep kids safe this fall.

Their answers, ultimately, could sway his decision.

“With this virus, you just don’t know,” Harmon said. “It’s hard to plan ahead because you just don’t know, so we’re still taking it day by day.”

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While his son’s return to school is in flux, Harmon said he feels incredibly safe at the Lions’ Allen Park practice facility.

The Lions, like all NFL teams, have gone to great lengths to try and prevent outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, including putting Plexiglas dividers between lockers, moving some dining facilities outdoors and enforcing strict training and care schedules.

The Lions placed eight players on the reserve/COVID-19 list during the first week of training camp, but have not had a positive test in the 11 days since players have been allowed in the building.

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Rookie safety Jalen Elliott is the only Lion still on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and the last player to test positive, Matthew Stafford, has tested negative every day since.

“I feel safe,” Harmon said. “I mean, as safe as I’m going to be anywhere else. I mean, probably more safe here than I am at my own house just because all the measures that they went to.”

Stafford, in his 12th season in Detroit, said the team’s Allen Park practice facility — and the measures required to gain entry — are “totally different than I’ve ever seen it and it’s as safe as it’s ever been.” 

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“I know as players we really appreciate it,” Stafford said. “It’s not lost on us the amount of dollars and effort that went into making the building and the facility look and operate the way that it does right now. I know a ton of people had extremely busy offseasons building this place out to what it is now and figuring out the dynamics of trying to social distance while playing a team sport. So I’m extremely appreciative, I know all my teammates are as well of just the amount of work and effort that went into giving us this chance to go out there and play.”

Harmon said that work is why he felt safe playing football this year after briefly considering opting out of the season with a newborn baby at home.

“It was a thought,” he said. “Something me and my wife obviously had to take into consideration. But in talking to the Lions staff, what they were going to do to keep us safe, then them also having the meeting with our families to talk to what they can do to keep us safe, we felt good about where we’re at for me going to play football. Obviously, it’s still tough. It’s a lot of unknown when we’re talking about COVID but me and my wife felt good for me to go out there and to compete with the Lions and do everything we can to win.”

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.

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