As his team deals with four positive tests for the COVID-19 virus, Bill Belichick wants you to know he's not a doctor.
"Look, this whole area is really a medical discussion. It is not a football discussion," he said during his Monday interview with sports radio station WEEI in Boston. "Frankly, it's not something that I'm qualified to talk about. It's really more of a situation that we rely on our medical staff, our doctors, our trainers and consultation with the league medical team and that's really what all this is about. You can't expect a football coach to manage a hospital or make medical decisions on something like this. There's no team in the league that's doing it that way. This is at a different level here."
But Belichick seems to have as good a grasp as any non-medical personnel when it comes to the status of his COVID-positive players, especially quarterback Cam Newton, who is now 10 days clear from his first positive test but according to his father, Cecil, remains asymptomatic.
"Again, any player that would come back to the team off the COVID [list] would have to go through a medical clearance," Belichick said. "That will be part of any player's return to the team from that situation. We'll have to see how that goes."
Now the 10 days is important because the NFL has made some modifications to it's original COVID rules and now players who are still testing positive for the virus but minus symptoms can return regardless of whether they get a negative test or not.
"I think what you're going to find is, if a person has the COVID virus, that they're going to continue to test positive for a significant period of time. It could be, I don't know, 30 or 60 days. I'm not sure. I'm not a doctor here, but it depends on how much the body and how quickly it sheds the virus - but not at a contagious state," he said. "So that's what it's about. If you're just looking at testing on somebody who has tested positive, they are going to be testing positive for a long time. We saw that, and many teams -- I have talked to many other coaches -- same thing. Guys that had it in the spring or in the summer continued to test positive into training camp, but that is based on the, whatever it is, 60 or 90 days -- I forget exactly what the timetable is. But from the first positive test, there's a certain period of time where they basically expect those tests to be positive."
Based on the Patriots game with the Broncos being moved to this Sunday, and from what I've been told, it appears that would also mean the potential for a return to game action for reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, who has remained without symptoms since his first positive test Wednesday.