TAMPA, Fla. - One of the assistant coaches for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has tested positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN. Two other Buccaneers assistant coaches are being quarantined.
The one unidentified Buccaneers assistant coach, who tested positive, was reportedly not showing any symptoms as of Thursday night.
The news comes only days after coach Bruce Arians and staff returned to the team's training center for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began. It also comes on the heels of new comments from the nation's top infectious disease expert.
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Thursday that “football may not happen this year” if there is a second coronavirus wave. He went on to say that “unless players are essentially in a bubble -- insulated from the community and tested nearly every day -- it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall.”
In a statement, the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Thom Mayer addressed Fauci’s comments Thursday night:
“Dr. Anthony Fauci’s words carry important weight as he has served our country with expert guidance and moral clarity through many crises. As we have communicated to our players throughout the spring, we know that there are significant challenges to the operation of football during a global pandemic.
So far, we have been guided and made decisions based on the best available science and current slate of infections and hospitalizations. Our joint task force is comprised of experts in multiple areas who are working everyday with health and safety in mind.
In addition to stringent protocols and workplace safety. We continue to reinforce the importance of widely available testing. It is not just a key to restarting football, but also a matter of public health. While the information we currently have indicates it will not be an issue in the near future, we all agree that ethically, we cannot as a non-essential business, take resources away from our fellow Americans.
We will continue to update you as we move forward through the summer."
This all comes as anticipation reaches a fever pitch for the Buccaneers’ 2020 season with the addition of former New England Patriots Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. It goes without saying- there is a lot on the line for Tampa Bay.
And let's not forget: Tampa is set to host the super bowl in February if the NFL season is able to finish. For now though, Bucs players are not yet permitted to return to the team's training center with their coaches.