Amid an ongoing review from the NFL and NFL Players Association into possible unauthorized workouts involving Tennessee Titans players and failing to follow proper COVID-19 protocols, Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson said Monday that the franchise has been transparent with the NFL and that he's unaware of any timeline as to when the investigation would conclude or when the team would be made aware of the findings.
As of now, no findings have been announced and no punishment has been handed out, though Robinson admitted that others, whether it be fans or media, clamoring for the team to be penalized has added to the toll of the ordeal.
"We haven't had any punishment yet but it has been frustrating," Robinson told reporters on Monday. "I've tried, I haven't looked at all the stuff that's out there, I'm sure it's probably not nice, that's not a world I try to live in, I try to stay focused on this football team and make sure that we try to get better and keep everybody safe. It's a challenge. It really is a challenge to work through for myself and coach [Mike] Vrabel. Looking at the phone at 3:30 in the morning, hasn't been a lot of sleep had, and then working through it as we get the information and working with the league and the PA. We've been extremely transparent with both groups with our situation, as they try to piece things together so that we could put some things in place so this doesn't happen again."
The league and NFLPA have been looking into players working out in unauthorized gatherings following the closing of the team facility on Sept. 29 following a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.
"With the investigation, and nothing's final yet, not to be dodgy here, but I can't really get into all the details until the league and the PA make their final determination," Robinson said. "But I would say we were transparent with the league with everything. The league has talked to all of our players and all of our coaches, certainly me, and we're continuing to work through and awaiting the direction there."
In terms of following proper protocols, Robinson admitted that ensuring that everyone is always wearing masks and wearing them properly has been a challenge.
"As far as the masks are concerned, it's been a, we've been fairly compliant. To say that we're 100% would be a false statement. There's certainly been some inconsistencies there. I've talked to several other GMs during this time, who have reached out to me and just checked on us and how we're doing and my family, because they know my personal situation. They face some of the same things we've faced with masks. We're constantly reminding players.
"That's been one of the more challenging things."
Since a Week 3 win over the Minnesota Vikings, more than 20 Titans players and personnel have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The contest versus the Vikings was also the last played by the Titans, who had their Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers moved to Week 7 and are currently preparing to play the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday in a game that was previously scheduled for Sunday.
"Prior to leaving for Minnesota we looked back at some of our tracking data and we actually added busses for that Minnesota trip, from here to the hangar where we leave, and then up on arrival there in Minnesota to try and further distance people," Robinson said. "When we got back from Minnesota, that Tuesday is when that first cluster of positives started. As we got wind of that, Mike and I, we decided to shut the building down that Tuesday morning.
"The league called shortly after with instructions about how to shut the building down and how to move forward, in which we set out to put that in place. The league has been down, they've talked to us. We've been cooperative with the league and the PA. I'd like to thank both of those guys for working with us, for taking our feedback and trying to improve things so that it doesn't happen again."
The latest reported positive test within the organization was a staff member on Sunday morning. The team facility was temporarily closed on Sunday, but later in the day, the Titans held their first true practice since Sept. 25 after receiving clearance from the NFL. Robinson said the team went through contract tracing on Sunday in regard to the staff member who tested positive. One player was not allowed to practice because he was traced to the staff member, but it was more for precautionary reasons.
Robinson told reporters that throughout the ordeal some Titans have shown symptoms, while other have not and zero players have been hospitalized due to COVID-19.
In addition to being cooperative with the NFL and NFLPA, Robinson thanked them for their feedback and said the team has implemented extra precautions, among them moving 26 players into a bubble and the addition of a heavy air filtration system.
"Since the start of this COVID outbreak back in March, we've taken this thing extremely serious," Robinson told reporters. "We say it all the time, but the health and safety of our players and our coaches and our staff and their families, all of that is the most important thing."