Titans coach Vrabel tests positive for COVID-19

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel announced Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The news comes after the Titans spent last week taking part in joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before facing them in Week 2 of the preseason.

Vrabel said he will get retested Monday. He is currently in quarantine and following protocols.

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“What it comes down to is you have to have two negative tests within a 48-hour period,” Vrabel said. “If that happens then I can get back into the building. If not, I’ll have to wait 10 days.”

The Buccaneers are currently waiting on contact tracing, sources told ESPN’s Jenna Laine. Every coach, player and staff member is required to wear a contact tracing chip that measures their proximity to others and for how long. The next steps will differ for close contacts who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, per NFL protocols.

Bucs coach Bruce Arians said the team would be 92% vaccinated by Aug. 13 and he anticipated close to 100% vaccinated by the start of the regular season.

Vrabel sent a text to the players before his Zoom news conference to let them know that he tested positive. As of now, no other coaches have tested positive. All of the Titans’ coaches that are in contact with players have been vaccinated.

Vrabel said he was experiencing some symptoms, prompting him to get tested.

“I had a sore throat, little bit of an earache, so I went and got tested at the facility. I remained in my car until the results were in that I tested positive for COVID,” Vrabel said. “I took the first test and tested positive, then took a second test and tested positive. I got a PCR test done, which will come back tomorrow and most likely be positive.”

Vrabel mentioned special teams coach Craig Aukerman as one of the coaches who will be relied upon to help oversee team operations while he’s gone.

“I’m sure I’ll be involved in the Zoom meetings, but I’m comfortable with Craig Aukerman, who’s touched a lot of players in special teams meetings along with [linebackers coach Jim] Haslet [and defensive assistant Jim] Schwartz,” Vrabel said. “I’ll work through a lot of those things. Confident in team and coaching staff that no matter the situation, we’ll handle it and make good decisions.”

The Titans experienced a COVID-19 outbreak last season that resulted in 13 players and 11 team personnel members testing positive in just under a one-month span. Vrabel stressed that the Titans have been through it before and will continue to focus on the health of the members of the organization, along with that of their families.

The Titans are set to resume practicing Monday at 1:15 pm ET. The Buccaneers are scheduled to practice Monday at 2:15 p.m. ET.



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