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Sills: Panthers' COVID-19 transmission linked to players gathering outside facility

Carolina became one of the many teams affected by the COVID-19 outbreak this week when it placed eight players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and the NFL now believes it has an explanation for the spread.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said Wednesday the Panthers' COVID-19 transmission was linked back "to some gathering of players outside the team facility" during Carolina's bye week, per The Athletic's Joe Person.

"We've worked with the club on that," Sills said, via Person. "Worked with the involved individuals and I think we'll continue to see improvement there (with) repeated messaging" regarding what players should and shouldn't do when away from the team's facility.

The Panthers reported no new positive tests overnight into Tuesday, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. As of now, key offensive players D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are among those placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Carolina could face fines and/or loss of a draft pick for their players' actions. The Las Vegas Raiders were fined $500,000 as an organization, coach Jon Gruden was hit with a $150,000 fine, and the team was stripped of a sixth-round pick for its COVID-19 protocol violations in early November. Those fines and the loss of the pick were due to the Raiders being a repeat offender in violating protocol.

This outbreak is Carolina's first significant issue related to COVID-19.

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