The NFL said that any player or coach who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 will be forced to self isolate even if they test negative for the coronavirus.
"We're always going to err on the side of safety, and we're going to support the medical judgment of the medical staff," the NFL's chief medical officer Allen Sills told reporters during a conference call.
Sills said while more players could end up missing practices and games, the league would prefer to err on the side of caution to help prevent outbreaks within teams.
"When you look at the big picture, our goal is to make sure we don't put someone on the field that we think might be actively infected. If we're going to make a mistake, we would rather make a mistake on the side of being cautious and keeping people off the field. If it turns out that those were non-COVID symptoms, I think we would all be happy with that outcome," Sills said.
He explained that the length of the self-isolation will be determined on a "case-by-case basis" as doctors try to determine the cause of the symptoms.
"Just because someone has one negative test," Sills said, "we can't say that they're absolutely not infected."
Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr.appears to be one of the first players impacted by the new policy. He was sent home from the team's facility on Thursday (October 15) with an undisclosed illness. He was not at the team's facility on Friday, despite testing negative for COVID-19. The team has not said if he will suit up when the Bengals play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
"I don't know if I want to go there yet," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He's a big part of what we do."
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