BOSTON (CBS) – There have been many questions regarding Cam Newton’s availability in the near future, even though he continues to test positive for COVID-19.
But Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Monday that just because a player continues to test positive doesn’t mean he won’t be able to play. The league actually expects players who have tested positive for the virus to continue to test positive for the foreseeable future.
Newton, who first tested positive 10 days ago, could be cleared to play for this weekend’s rescheduled game against the Denver Broncos. Newton was reportedly asymptomatic throughout his fight with the virus, making it a bit easier for the quarterback to get back into action. NFL guidelines say asymptomatic players can be cleared after producing two negative tests 24 hours apart, or 10 days after their initial positive test, provided they are cleared by team doctors and of the NFL.
But the NFL also expects players to be positive long after they’ve been cleared to play, which makes the situation rather complicated. And as Belichick told WEEI in his weekly interview, it’s best to leave this topic to the doctors, not a football coach.
When asked if Patriots players would feel comfortable having a player who tested positive feedback before returning a negative test, Belichick went into a little more detail about the testing.
“What you are going to find out is that if a person has the COVID virus, they will continue to test positive for a significant period of time – 30 to 60 days, depending on the amount of the body and how quickly it sheds the virus. , but not to a contagious state. If you’re just looking to test someone who has tested positive, you’re going to see them for a long time. Many teams have seen it, with guys who had it in the spring or summer continued to test positive at training camp. But that was 60-90 days after the first positive test. There is a certain period of time when they expect these tests to be positive, ”Belichick told WEEI.
“This is a medical discussion, not a football discussion. It is not something that I am qualified to talk about,” he added. “It is a situation that we rely on our medical staff. , our doctors and coaches, in consultation with the league’s medical team. That’s what it is. You can’t expect a football coach to run a hospital or take medical decisions There is no team in the league that does it this way.
It has been reported that Patriots players are losing faith in the NFL and NFLPA to keep them safe during the season, and Jason McCourty certainly underscored that position in his comments on Saturday. Belichick was unwilling to speak on behalf of his players, but said those involved try to keep everyone as safe as possible.
“Everyone wants the same thing; they want to be able to play and play it safe, deal with some of the issues and things that have arisen. It always has been and there has been no change. Everyone is doing their best and we are trying to make decisions for everyone’s health and safety, ”he said. “The players are the most important part of the game, but we try to look out for everyone.
“The problems are not easy, but there are a lot of smart people involved who are doing their best to try to deal with the football and the medical aspect,” he added.
The Patriots currently have four players on the NFL shortlist / COVID. The NFL had already postponed Sunday’s game against the Broncos to Monday night, but it was postponed a second time on Sunday when Byron Cowart’s COVID test came back positive.
The Patriots won’t start training again until Wednesday.