Several Lions coaches out for contact tracing

  • Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
  • Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Several Detroit Lions coaches have been deemed close contacts due to contact tracing following two positive COVID-19 tests Tuesday and will stay away from the team facility until further notice, the franchise announced in a statement Wednesday morning.

Detroit did not say which coaches would be away from the facility, although a source told ESPN they coach defense. The Lions, scheduled to play Tampa Bay on Saturday, are planning on virtual meetings Wednesday morning and still hope to conduct an outdoor practice in the afternoon.

Interim head coach Darrell Bevell’s 11 a.m. news conference has also been postponed.

It remained unclear as of Wednesday morning how many staff members are effected. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN there is no change to the status of Saturday’s game against the Buccaneers.

After the two positive tests were announced Tuesday — the Lions placed practice squad linebacker Anthony Pittman on the reserve/COVID-19 list later in the day — Bevell said the team was still going through the process of contact tracing to determine next steps.

“You have to go back through the contract tracing and all those things, the close contacts, have to figure out what all those are and where they stand with that,” Bevell said Tuesday. “I think I’ll know more tonight about tomorrow. Right now, we’re planning on being in the building tomorrow, but that could change as well. We could go without.

“We could go with virtual meetings again tomorrow and not have practice as well. So just have to play that by ear.”

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that one Lions defensive assistant did not wear his contact tracing device at all times and another assistant held a meeting in person is his office.

McCarthy declined to comment on the Free Press’ report about the defensive assistant coaches.

The Lions have already been coaching short-handed after firing head coach Matt Patricia on Nov. 28, promoting Bevell to interim head coach. They fired special-teams coordinator Brayden Coombs on Monday following a failed fake punt that contradicted a direct instruction from Bevell during a 46-25 loss to Tennessee.

It’s unclear at this point how many coaches Detroit could have available for Saturday’s game.

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