The Detroit Lions could be in the middle of a pretty significant COVID crisis this week. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, “almost all” of the Lions’ defensive coaching staff, including interim head coach Darrell Bevell, are considered close contacts of the staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Per NFL protocol, those people would have to quarantine for at least five days before returning to the team’s facility. The Lions did close the facility on Tuesday, meaning they’re technically already one day into that quarantine.
Given that the Lions are on a short week and are scheduled to play on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this could result in a scenario in which the Lions are without a huge portion of their coaching staff. Saturday would be the fifth day of their quarantine.
Of course, the more likely solution would be to postpone or cancel the game outright, but those are obviously last-case scenarios with an NFL season that is currently in the midst of a playoff race.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions are guilty of breaking a couple protocol rules:
To add to the @RapSheet report, was told last night one of the Lions assistants did not have his contact tracing device on at all times and another had people in his office— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 23, 2020
The Lions have not given an official statement on the situation as of Wednesday morning.
UPDATE: The Lions have offered this official statement:
“This morning our COVID-19 test results yielded no new positive tests. As a result of the contact tracing process, several coaches will remain away from the team facility until further notice. We anticipate conducting an outdoor practice this afternoon and our players and coaches will continue to meet virtually this morning.”