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NFL announces COVID testing irregularities; Lions have one positive result

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

The NFL announced Sunday morning there were irregularities with COVID testing for several teams serviced through third-party provider BioReference. The testing results, all coming from the same laboratory in New Jersey, produced several unexpected positive tests for multiple teams. 

Although the expectation is these are false positives, the league is taking extra precautions, requiring the players with the positive tests to stay away from team facilities. 

Matt Patricia

"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 league said in a statement. "The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results."

Word of the testing irregularities was news to Lions coach Matt Patricia minutes before the team was set to start its Sunday practice, but the team was potentially impacted by the results. 

A league source, confirming a Sports Illustrated report, acknowledged the Lions had one unidentified player test positive. That player will be re-tested, and if cleared, will return to practice Tuesday. The source requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on test results.

Among the teams impacted were the Cleveland Browns, who canceled their practice, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears, which reported nine false-positives. 

The Lions previously needed to place eight players on the COVID reserve list since reporting to training camp at the end of July. The team hasn't had a positive test in more than three weeks and all eight of those players have since been activated.