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Bucs edge-rusher Shaquil Barrett expressed concern about his children potentially testing positive for COVID-19 amid the NFL‘s attempt to hold the 2020 season during the ongoing pandemic but expressed confidence in the league’s plan in comments made this week, per Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times.
“I’m worried because of my kids,” he said. “I don’t want them to catch anything. But I figure that they’re going to do it the safest way possible if they do have us back and they do start the season on time. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the safest way possible. I’m not really worried about it too much.”
Two unnamed Bucs players have tested positive for COVID-19, per a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.
It was revealed Thursday that one unnamed assistant coach tested positive for COVID-19 as well, per Encina.
Barrett enjoyed a breakout season in his sixth NFL campaign, amassing a league- and career-high 19.5 sacks. He played his previous five years with the Denver Broncos.
The Bucs placed the franchise tag on Barrett earlier this year.
As for the Bucs’ COVID-19 response, the team released a statement on Saturday following the news of more positive tests:
“We can confirm that there have been individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the AdventHealth Training Center. We immediately activated our COVID-19 Response Plan and vacated the affected areas, which will remain closed until extensive sanitization is completed. The individuals who may have been exposed have already been notified and are following the established protocols which include a 14-day quarantine period.
“Our team headquarters remain open for our Phase 1 employees and all essential operations are continuing in preparation for the 2020 season. The names of those impacted, as well as any additional information related to these incidents, will not be released due to privacy concerns.”
Phase 1 employees consist of “75 non-player employees (50 percent of the workforce) on any single day, if permitted by state or local regulations,” per NFL protocols.
The NFL and NFLPA released a list of protocols for players upon returning to team facilities for training camps in July.
That list of protocols is still being developed for further adjustments, per Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer.
The season is on schedule to begin on Thursday, Sept. 10. The Bucs’ first regular-season game is set for Sunday, Sept. 13 at the New Orleans Saints.