Multiple NFL teams are changing or canceling football activities on Sunday following irregularities in results from Saturday's COVID-19 test results from the same lab in New Jersey, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.
The NFL released the following statement:
"Saturday's daily COVID testing returned several positives tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey. We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests. Clubs are taking immediate precautionary measures as outlined in the NFL-NFLPA's health and safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolation of individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, where appropriate. The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results."
Among the teams to have experienced testing irregularities are the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings.
The Browns released a statement Sunday morning that they were pausing "any activity in our building today and conduct meetings virtually." The team has since reopened facilities and announced it would resume practices later in the day.
Another team that adjusted activities was the Bears, who released their own statement:
"This morning we learned yesterday's COVID-19 testing identified nine players/staff as positive. We followed additional NFL-NFLPA testing protocol and confirmed all nine results as false positives. Out of an abundance of caution, we postponed this morning's practice to this afternoon at 1:30 p.m."
The New York Jets had 10 false positives and though they practiced Sunday, they canceled a walk-through on Saturday and didn't know if they'd be able to practice Sunday until the morning, coach Adam Gase told reporters.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a statement that six players were forced to miss practice, but none ended up having to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane told reporters "key players" would miss practice Sunday due to the testing irregularities. Among those who missed practice Sunday was quarterback Josh Allen, the team announced.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer announced that eight players, three staff members and one coach had "presumptive positive" COVID-19 tests and would not participate in Sunday's practice.
The league and NFL Players Association are still in discussion about in-season COVID-19 testing protocols and one option is "pregame" testing on Fridays prior to Sunday games, Pelissero reported. In relation to Sunday's events, this would aid in allowing extra time to root out false positives.
More than 100,000 novel coronavirus tests have been conducted since training camp began, Pelissero added, with a positivity rate that's a fraction of 1 percent and dropping. "A sudden flood of positives from different testing sites, all processed by the same lab," Pelissero said, "raises a red flag."