Detroit Lions dealing with another COVID-19 outbreak, cancel Tuesday practice

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions are dealing with their second COVID-19 outbreak of the season.

The Lions announced Tuesday morning that they closed their Allen Park practice facility and are working remotely after two members of the organization tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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Interim head coach Darrell Bevell’s news conference also was delayed until later in the day.

“Earlier this morning, we were informed of two positive COVID-19 tests within our organization,” the team said in a written statement. “As a precaution, the team practice facility is currently closed and our players and coaches are conducting meetings remotely today. As we adhere to our Intensive Protocols and conduct contact tracing, we will continue to communicate closely with the NFL and its medical staff and gather more information.”

The Lions went more than three months between positive COVID tests, from the time players reported in late July until a four-day stretch in early November when they placed three players on the reserve/COVID-19 list and had a staff test positive for the virus on consecutive days.

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At least one of those players, quarterback Matthew Stafford, was considered a close contact of an infected person, and did not test positive for the virus.

Stafford spent four days on the reserve/COVID-19 list but was activated and played in that week’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Linebacker Jarrad Davis and practice squad safety Jalen Elliott also had minimal stays on reserve/COVID-19, and the team was placed in the NFL’s intensive protocols after the staff member’s positive test Nov. 6.

Defensive end Everson Griffen tested positive for COVID-19 in an isolated case earlier this month and remains on the reserve/COVID list.

Typically, Tuesdays are off days in the NFL, but the Lions were scheduled to practice Tuesday because of their Saturday game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The NFL has not lost any games due to the pandemic this season, and Saturday’s Lions-Bucs game remains on as scheduled.

Under intensive protocol guidelines, all team meetings must be held virtually or outdoors, with masks being worn and physical distancing maintained at all times.

Practices are allowed, so long as players wear full masks — not gaiters — but locker room use is strongly discouraged and a maximum of 10 players and five staff members are allowed in the weight room at one time

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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