No talk of individual punishment for Titans after NFL, NFLPA probe: report

The NFL and the NFL Players Association found instances when the Tennessee Titans failed to wear masks at all times and were "insufficiently clear" to players about not meeting or working out, a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press.

Review finds instances when team failed to wear face masks at all times

No discussion of any discipline for a Titans individual, including head coach Mike Vrabel, left, or any players reportedly was discussed during a NFL, NFLPA review about COVID-19 protocols. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

The NFL and the NFL Players Association found instances when the Tennessee Titans failed to wear masks at all times and were "insufficiently clear" to players about not meeting or working out once the facility closed in a review given to the team Monday, a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press.

Those issues will be taken into consideration for any potential discipline of the Titans.

But the person familiar with the review says there was no discussion of any discipline for an individual including general manager Jon Robinson, coach Mike Vrabel or any players, and there was no discussion of punishment, including forfeitures or draft picks.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the NFL, the NFL Players Association nor the Titans have commented on the review.

The Titans had no comment Monday when asked if the team had received the review's findings.

The NFL and NFL Players Association have revised protocols based on what officials saw during the review of the Titans, and there are also new procedures for teams dealing with an outbreak or exposed to an outbreak to follow try to mitigate COVID-19 among the league's teams.

"This is not about discipline," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week when asked about potential punishment for the Titans. "This is about making sure we're keeping our personnel safe. And that's been our entire focus."

Air filtration unit added to locker room

The NFL and its players association sent officials and other experts to Nashville to review how Tennessee had been following protocols during the coronavirus pandemic. The NFL shut down the Titans' facility Sept. 29 after eight positive tests returned.

The outbreak grew to as many as 24 and forced the NFL to reschedule Tennessee games with Pittsburgh from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25 and also a game with Buffalo from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13.

The review says the Titans co-operated fully with the "comprehensive" look into how the team had been following protocols. Officials found evidence that the Titans had spent significant time and resources during the off-season to prepare their facility to meet protocols agreed to by the NFL and the players association.

Since the outbreak, the Titans also added a HEPA air filtration unit for their locker room and another at the cafeteria. When the Titans stretched before practice last week, they spread across two fields rather than the usual one.

The review did find issues with two areas: mask usage and physical distancing and player workouts.

Video helped reveal instances of failure to comply with the protocol requiring masks be worn at all times inside the facility and on the practice field. Masks also slipped when people congregated in hallways near the locker room or cafeteria.

Officials also interviewed everyone inside the Tennessee franchise from executives to players and staff members. Titans players worked out Sept. 30 in groups including at a private Nashville high school.

"Messaging could've been better and clearer" to players to avoid working out together, the person told the AP.

Panthers close facility for 2 days

The Carolina Panthers have closed their facility for the next two days after receiving an "unconfirmed" positive coronavirus test Monday.

The team said in a statement that "out of abundance of caution, players, coaches and staff inside the red line areas will work virtually today and Tuesday. The training room remains open and we are still scheduled to operate on our regular itinerary on Wednesday."

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said on a video conference call Monday that he received a phone call at 4:48 a.m. about the unconfirmed test, but wouldn't say if it involved a player, coach or staff member.

Players normally have meetings on Mondays and are off Tuesday. Their first day of practice for the week begins on Wednesday, so the team shouldn't miss any practice time.

Rhule says his staff will work from home the next two days in preparation for Sunday's game at New Orleans.

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