The Tennessee Titans could be looking at the prospect of taking a loss on Sunday without ever taking the field. Several NFL insiders are speculating the league could force the team to take a forfeit loss against the Buffalo Bills due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and allegations of an unauthorized workout.
The Titans have already been laid off for several days as the number of cases forced a postponement of the team's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and now insiders say it is increasingly likely that the contest against the Bills will not be played as scheduled, either. As Sports Illustrated reported, another Titans player tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, the latest in a string of infections that include starting wide receiver Corey Davis.
The NFL had shut the team down as coronavirus cases increased, but the Sports Illustrated report noted that players allegedly held a private workout anyway, going against the mandate that all activities be halted.
"The NFL and the Titans were hoping that the spread would stop once facilities were closed. They didn't have any positive tests for two days and then a second wave occurred," the outlet reported.
"Some Titans players gathered for in person workouts last week at a high school," per SI's summation of NFL reporter Paul Kuharsky.
It was not clear what action the NFL would take or what would happen to the schedule, but Sports Illustrated noted that there are few options given that the previous contest had already been moved. There is the possibility that an extra week could be added to the end of the regular season, though that would mean the start of the playoffs would be pushed back.Others believe that the prospect of a forfeit could be on the table for the Titans, an option that the league had reportedly not considered in initial discussions.
"Was told yesterday a forfeit hadn't been discussed for the Titans. Have to wonder if that changes as the situation continues," tweeted Judy Battista, a columnist for NFL.com. "Potentially 2nd game impacted -- no place to put a rescheduled game unless they create a week 18. A mess that's created a lot of anger around the league."Others have noted that a forced loss would come with its own difficulties, including the prospect that players on both the Bills and Titans would not receive a paycheck for the contest that was not played.