A group of Tennessee Titans skill position players held a workout at Montgomery Bell Academy last Wednesday, a day after St. Thomas Sports Park was shut down due to eight positive COVID-19 tests.
The group of about 15 players took to the private school’s football field about midday for a short workout. That morning the team had received news of a ninth positive test in an outbreak that has grown to 22, postponing the team’s week four game against the Steelers and jeopardizing this Sunday’s game against the Bills.
MBA Headmaster Brad Gioai told NewsChannel 5 QB Ryan Tannehill requested the workout through the athletic department, which he says is a common occurrence. Tannehill reportedly wanted to work out with "receivers and a few others." Gioai says the players were asked to wear masks and socially distance but admitted that it only applied to entry and exit and wasn't possible on the football field.
The NFL continues its investigation into the origin and spread of the Titans’ outbreak, and reportedly has been looking into whether or not players gathered in any form. Paul Kuharsky reports that the workout violated league protocols after the team was told there would be “no in-person meetings, workouts or activities at the facility or elsewhere.”
Kuharsky also reported that defensive backs worked out at Belmont on September 30.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) October 7, 2020
Neither Mike Vrabel nor Jon Robinson have responded to a request for comment, but on Thursday Vrabel was asked during his media availability about the possibility of players gathering to workout.
“We have asked our players, in light of recent testing, to not gather, whether that’s from league protocol or from us just asking, so we can try to avoid close contacts as we try to work through this,” Vrabel said.
Prior to the workout on Wednesday I asked quarterback Ryan Tannehill on the team’s zoom media availability how he planned to keep his arm in shape during the facility lockdown.
“You can't sit around on the couch for a week and be on a Zoom meeting and expect to go be at a physical peak on a Sunday, or whenever the game is going to be,” Tannehill said. “It's going to look a little bit different for everybody, what they're able to do, where they're able to work out, in a garage, in a gym somewhere, I'm not even sure. Every man on this team is charged with prepping themselves, getting their bodies right, making sure that we're running, we're conditioned, and ready to go whenever the game comes around.”
Pressed for specifics on what exactly he would do, Tannehill added the following: “I'm just going to make sure that I'm getting throws in and ready to go and throw the ball well when the game comes around.”
The NFL sent a memo to teams this week saying it will consider fines, the loss of draft picks and even the forfeit of a game for organizations that fail to follow protocols that result in the disruption of the schedule or a competitive disadvantage for other clubs.
A few players shared their reactions on Twitter:
A jury couldn’t convict to say that is us in that photo. I plead the fifth . Y’all stay safe out here https://t.co/KFp5jgE3N8
— AJ Brown (@Brown1arthur) October 7, 2020
Guys just don’t work out for fun this is for their lively hood, their family, their opportunity. Say what you want but I’m standing up for my team always. https://t.co/wRmlIOT4ww
— Rodger Saffold (@Rodger_Saffold) October 7, 2020