Buccaneers' Shaquil Barrett anticipates safe return to football amid coronavirus pandemic

Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Shaquil Barrett is looking to build upon a great 2019 season and has no qualms about the NFL’s plan to play amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The defensive end told the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday that he was worried for his children about playing in 2020 with COVID-19 still prevalent in the U.S., but said he trusted the league.

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“I'm worried because of my kids,” he told the newspaper. “I don't want them to catch anything. But I figure that they're going to do it the safest way possible if they do have us back and they do start the season on time. I'm pretty sure it's going to be the safest way possible. I'm not really worried about it too much.”

Two Buccaneers players and one assistant coach already tested positive for the coronavirus, according to multiple reports. The team confirmed the reports Saturday.

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“We can confirm that there have been individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the AdventHealth Training Center. We immediately activated our COVID-19 Response Plan and vacated the affected areas, which will remain closed until extensive sanitization is completed. The individuals who may have been exposed have already been notified and are following the established protocols which include a 14-day quarantine period,” the team said in a statement.

“Our team headquarters remain open for our Phase 1 employees and all essential operations are continuing in preparation for the 2020 season. The names of those impacted, as well as any additional information related to these incidents, will not be released due to privacy concerns.”

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NFL’s Phase 1 protocols include allowing only 50 percent of a franchise’s workforce at the training facility on a given day.

In-season protocols have not been divulged as of yet.