With a rising number of COVID-19 cases across the league, the NFL is requiring that all 32 teams begin to operate under intensive protocols, per Lindsay Jones of The Athletic.
The protocols start taking place on Saturday and will remain that way for the rest of the season. Part of these procedures means that all meetings will be held virtually, masks will be mandatory at all times, and there will be a limited amount of players in both the locker room and weight room.
According to Jones, there have been 108 new positive cases around the league from November 1st to the 14th. The Bucs had a member of the equipment staff test positive back on October 29th.
Brian McCarthy, who works in PR for the NFL, tweeted out the memo sent around the league about the intensive protocol along with guidelines. The main line bolded states as follows:
“These measures are not meant to be punitive but are intended to mitigate the risk of further transmission among the team and to offer as much protections as possible to player and stuff.”
Beginning Saturday, all NFL clubs will conduct their operations under intensive protocols. 28 clubs have used these protocols at least once & 16 have done so multiple times. These protocols have reduced close contacts by 50+ percent. pic.twitter.com/kbB32siShz
While having it mandated throughout the entire league is new, 28 teams have already gone under these protocols at least one time during the year. 16 teams have gone done twice.
The Bucs have faced three teams that have had to go into protocol or at least send players home from practice to prevent any COVID contact tracing. It happened before their games against the Raiders, Giants, and with their upcoming opponent in the Rams, who went into intensive protocol as of Wednesday.