The NFL announced Wednesday that Sunday’s matchup between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers would be postponed due to the league’s first COVID-19 outbreak, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t appear to be a fan of the change in schedule.
Roethlisberger was asked at a press conference on Wednesday before the league’s official announcement whether he believed it would be fair for Sunday’s game to happen as scheduled despite the Titans inability to return to their training facilities until Saturday.
"Well, we were told during training camp that this could happen if you're not diligent, you're not careful," Roethlisberger said, according to CBS Sports. "I don't know what's going on down there [In Tennessee], so I am not going to speak on them, but I'm telling you what we were told.”
The veteran quarterback continued to explain that NFL teams should have been prepared for the possibility that any positive cases would result in missed practice time.
“We were told that there might be a situation that if you weren't careful and there was some COVID issues here in Pittsburgh that we might not be able to practice until Friday or Saturday. That's why they made the rule with more practice squad guys this year, so we were made aware of those possibilities."
The NFL revealed Tuesday that three Titans’ players and five team personnel tested positive after playing the Minnesota Vikings over the weekend. On Thursday morning the number had jumped to 11, with five players and six employees having tested positive, ESPN reported.
The league will likely look into the cause of the outbreak and Roethlisberger wasn’t prepared to make any assumptions on Wednesday.
"I don't want to say it is what it is, but that's why the plan is put in place, to have guys to be prepared and why so many people -- and I know in Pittsburgh and I am sure down in Tennessee, too -- are being diligent and not going out and being reckless and being careful," he said. "I'm homeschooling my kids, we're not having guests over at the house. You have to do those things if you want to play the games on Sundays.”
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said that it’s “no one’s fault,” and while the team does have the right to fine players who breach the NFL’s safety protocols, the NFL Network reported Thursday that the team does not intend to fine anyone.
The NFL has said that it will be announced when the Week 4 matchup will be rescheduled, but for now rumors have said it could be as early as Monday or Tuesday.