Saints player’s positive COVID test leaves Sunday’s Lions game up in the air

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

Hours after New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for the COVID-19 virus Saturday afternoon, forcing the NFL to postpone this weekend’s game between the Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints are faced with a similar dilemma after multiple outlets have reported Saints fullback Michael Burton also tested positive on Saturday.

As part of protocols put in place after Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a false-positive test this summer, Burton is being re-tested to determine if his own result is a false-positive. The team is also testing several players in close contact with Burton on the flight to Detroit, including star running back Alvin Kamara.

With the news breaking late Saturday, it’s still unclear what it means for the status of Sunday’s game between the two teams. But if Burton is confirmed to have the virus, it will almost certainly lead to a postponement similar to the league’s decision with the Chiefs and Saints to ensure any potential spread is contained.

That game is currently slated to be played either Monday or Tuesday this week, but hinges on there being no addition spread.

Earlier this week, the league had to postpone its first game due to the virus after the Tennessee Titans experienced an outbreak. Over the past 10 days, the organization has had 16 positive cases, including eight players. The team has reported new cases each of the past five days, including Saturday.

The Titans’ opponent last weekend, the Minnesota Vikings, also had to temporarily shut down their facilities, but after no positive tests for their franchise, they remain on track to play the Houston Texans on Sunday.

If the Lions and Saints are faced with a longer delay, similar to the Titans, the NFL will need to quickly come up with an alternative plan to reschedule the game. The Lions are scheduled to be on their bye next week, while the Saints have their bye a week later.

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