Tennessee Titans return during pandemic
Safety measures intensify as season approaches
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - As the Tennessee Titans players returned to Nashville word came that first-round draft pick Isiah Wilson, out of Georgia, had been placed on the reserve COVID-19 list.
Wilson is the first Titans player to land on the list. Landing on the reserve COVID-19 list means he’s either contracted the virus or been in contact with someone who has tested positive.
WVLT Sports Director Rick Russo caught up with the Voice of the Titans, Mike Keith, and Head Coach Mike Vrabel on Tuesday to discuss what’s happening in Nashville, regarding the safety measures taking place at the Titans facility.
”Arrows put up and down the corridors to make sure people are walking the right way because they don’t want players running into each other coming out of meetings,” Keith said.
It’s starting to feel very real now as players report and the emphasis on safety intensifies, even more.
”The emphasis on safety is 100 percent intensified because as players return they have to pass a series of COVID-19 tests,” Keith said. “Everybody feels like if we can play, I think we’re helping people I think just that outlet is a big deal. it’s pretty clear, especially here in Nashville, this is not going away anytime soon.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced there will be no preseason games, something which presents additional challenges for the organization, especially from a player development standpoint.
”We have to teach, develop and inspire them,” said Head Coach Mike Vrabel. “I told them yesterday, if you believe this stuff that undrafted free agents aren’t gonna have a chance to make the team, you’re nuts.”
Also of concern to Vrabel and no doubt coaching staffs across the league, is the possibility of guys opting out of playing this season because of COVID-19.
”Obviously very respectful of whatever decision the players make for their own health and safety. We have had one player inform us he would opt out, Anthony McKinney, an undrafted player,” Vrabel said.
The NFL is kicking the can down the road a bit regarding fans and has said they’ll defer to local and state guidelines. Limiting or eliminating fans at NFL stadiums will no doubt change the complexion of the sport very much driven by those in the stands.
Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.