Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has tested positive for the coronavirus. TMZ reported that Elliott and several other players on the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans teams have tested positive for the virus.
The news came originally from the NFL Network's Ian Rappaport, who tweeted it on Monday.
"Several #Cowboys players & several #Texans players have tested positive for COVID-19 recently, sources tell me & @TomPelissero. None of the players are believed to have been in their team facilities. The teams followed proper health protocols," Rappaport tweeted.
As of yet, the names of the other players have not been made publicly available. Elliott's positive diagnosis was confirmed by his agent, who also said that Elliott was feeling good in spite of the illness.
Also unknown is the location where these players caught the illness. The news of these new cases could have an impact on the NFL's decision to begin holding training camps in mid-July. Last year's NFL season ended before the coronavirus was a major threat in the United States, so the league has yet to be impacted by the outbreak.Other sports leagues have postponed or canceled their seasons as a result of the virus. The NBA took that step in March and has now announced plans to reopen the league in a "bubble" environment in Orlando in July. Everyone who tries to enter the bubble will be tested for the virus before they are allowed to enter.
High-profile athletes have tested positive for the virus throughout the pandemic, but this new spate of infections could mean that the NFL season will have to make further adjustments before games resume.
In the past, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that playing football could provide an ideal environment for the virus to spread. While the disease doesn't spread through sweat, the close contact that football players are regularly in with one another provides an ideal environment for the virus to spread, Fauci explained during an appearance on Football Morning in America with Peter King.
"If you really want to be in a situation where you want to be absolutely certain, you'd test all the players before the game. And you say, 'Those who are infected: sorry, you're sidelined. Those who are free: get in there and play,'" Fauci continued.
Cases of COVID-19 have been on the rise in recent days in large parts of the country, including Texas. On Sunday, the state reported 2,287 new hospitalizations as a result of the virus, which was a new high watermark, according to TMZ.