The Bears have been cleared by the NFL to resume full activities at Halas Hall in Lake Forest on Friday. The team will continue under the league’s intensive protocol, meaning players will head home directly after practice and conduct meetings virtually.
The Bears canceled practice Thursday and sent everyone home from the team’s Halas Hall training facility out of an abundance of caution after a player tested positive for COVID-19.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Bears center Cody Whitehair had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Bears provided a brief update Thursday night but did not specify whether Thursday’s positive test was a false positive or if the team is going to place that player and any close contacts on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Bears will practice at 12:30 p.m. Friday. Coach Matt Nagy will address the media again at approximately 2:45 p.m. Friday. The Bears are scheduled to play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee.
This comes two days after offensive tackle Jason Spriggs tested positive for the virus, and right guard Germain Ifedi was deemed a close contact. Spriggs and Ifedi were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday.
The Bears were in a holding pattern for much of Thursday as they awaited confirmation of the positive COVID-19 test.
“Once we know that, then we can go ahead and decide as far as (Friday) what’s our plan for meetings, what’s our plan for practice,” Nagy said.
Nagy wouldn’t say how many close contacts could have potentially been exposed if the test was confirmed positive. Nagy did confirm that he himself was not a close contact.
“I can’t get into a number right now with that,” Nagy said. “We’re just waiting for answers. That’s all we can really do.”
Nagy confirmed that backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky was in California on Thursday having his shoulder evaluated by a specialist. Trubisky hurt his shoulder on the one play he was on the field for against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Soldier Field. Nagy declined to say how long Trubisky might be out.
That leaves the Bears with just two options at quarterbacks in starter Nick Foles and practice squad quarterback Tyler Bray.
While the Bears have tryouts with free agent quarterbacks Jake Rudock and Kyle Sloter, the league mandates a six-day entry process for free agents due to the coronavirus. So the Bears won’t have either free agent quarterback by Sunday.
“I don’t think that that can happen,” Nagy said. “Even with that said, you’re talking about someone who hasn’t been around or knows the offense.”
The NFL is going to do everything it can to play Sunday’s game as scheduled. The Titans, who had a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this season, have already had their bye week. The league likely wouldn’t push Sunday’s game to Monday or Tuesday because the Titans are scheduled to play the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday – already a quick turnaround.
The league kept this Thursday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers on the schedule despite the 49ers having three wide receivers placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The 49ers elevated six players from the practice squad Thursday prior to the game.