The Denver Broncos-New England Patriots game has been moved back a day to Monday night, Denver TV station 9News reported Thursday.
It will be the early game on Monday night, just as it was last week when the Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs were moved back a day. Exact game time had yet to be determined.
This time, though, the Patriots are the home team.
The news comes in the aftermath of another positive test for COVID-19 on the Patriots. Stephon Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, became the third Patriots player to contract the coronavirus.
The Patriots conducted individual tests and no new positives were detected on Thursday. New England’s team headquarters remains off limits, and the Patriots could be cleared to practice as soon as Friday afternoon, ESPN reported.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said “health and safety” are the only priorities for the team this week.
“There’s nothing more important than the health of the team,” Belichick said. “I mean, without a healthy team, you don’t have a team. So, that’s priority No. 1. I’d say, not only for our team but also for their families and people that are close to them. So, that’s always our No. 1 concern. And we’ll try to do everything we can to make that the best that we can make it. That’s the way it’s always been. That’s not going to change. So, whatever we have to do to do that, then that will be what we do. We always approach it that way. This is different but it’s really based on the same criteria.”
Belichick said the Patriots closely followed NFL protocol when determining how to transport Cam Newton’s close contacts to Kansas City last week.
The Patriots took two aircraft to Kansas City on game day. One plane included 20 players and staff traced as “close contacts” to Newton.
That included cornerback Gilmore, whose day-after-game test Tuesday was positive for COVID-19. He said Wednesday he’s asymptomatic and might be cleared to play in Week 5.
Earlier Thursday, Broncos coach Vic Fangio said he addressed the team early Wednesday morning about remaining disciplined in their actions, both at the facility and at home and no player has approached him about being apprehensive toward traveling.
“I don’t think there’s any concern on our end,” quarterback Brett Rypien said. “We trust the league will make the right decision. Right now, we have our focus on the game plan and we’re preparing as if we’re going to play on Sunday.”
Kicker Brandon McManus said: “Me personally, I’m comfortable traveling and going there,” he said. “I’ve seen the protocols and they’ve worked in the past. They’ll continue to work as long as we have compliance with them.”
— Field Level Media and Denver Post