TAMPA, Fla. - A day after defeating the Bucs in a preseason blowout in Tampa, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel delivered a different blow on Sunday: telling reporters via zoom that he’d tested positive for COVID-19.
As the Bucs and Titans work to contact trace and determine their next steps, many worry more announcements on positive cases will come.
The Titans and Bucs held two joint practices ahead of their game on Saturday. During practice, Vrabel shared a golf cart at times with Bucs head coach Bruce Arians.
Vrabel also spent plenty of time on and off the field catching up with former Pats teammate Tom Brady.
Vrabel says he was fully vaccinated but woke up Sunday morning with a sore throat and earache and later tested positive for COVID-19.
"They re-ran the test and it also came back positive. We’ll get a PCR test, which will come back tomorrow, which will also likely be positive," said Vrabel.
Per NFL protocol, Vrabel will have to quarantine for 10 days unless he tests negative for the virus twice in a 48-hour period.
Arians, who’s also vaccinated, explained earlier this month that he expects all of his players and coaches to be fully vaccinated by the start of the season.
"It’s all personal decisions and education," said Arians. "Pretty much we’ll be 100%, at least 98% for the first game."
This season, the NFL implemented new protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players and coaches. If someone on the team tests positive, all unvaccinated players or coaches determined to have been in close contact must automatically quarantine for five days. Those who’ve been fully vaccinated won’t have to automatically quarantine, thus the higher the vaccine rate, the fewer interruptions to practice and games a team is likely to experience.
So far, as of Monday morning, neither team has announced any other positive cases.