The Houston Texans will not play in Week 8 due to being on bye. While the players are away from the facility, the team will deal with a health and safety issue. One player tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the franchise to shut down the facility for the week.
"Late last night, we received notice that a Texans player tested positive for COVID-19. Following NFL protocols, the player immediately self-isolated and our Infection Control Officer and other members of the Infection Response Team began working with the NFL to perform contact tracing," the team said in a statement. "Our facility will be closed today to players for deep cleaning. We are in close consultation with the NFL, as well as our team of independent doctors and specialists, and will follow their guidance regarding our scheduled bye week operations. The health and safety of our team, as well as our entire staff, are of highest priority."
The Texans did not specify the infected player in the press release, but Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle learned his identity. He reported that the team had placed offensive guard Max Scharping on the COVID-19/Reserve list. Scharping is the first Texans player to test positive during the season after multiple players contracted the virus during the summer.
With the positive taking place on the bye week, the Houston Texans will not have to worry about any potential scheduling issues. Instead, the organization will focus on testing the rest of the players and ensuring that the positive diagnosis only impacts one player. The NFL tests players every day, including during bye weeks, so the Texans should quickly determine which players were potentially infected.
NFL teams have dealt with a smattering of positive coronavirus tests throughout the season, resulting in a few postponed games and big names missing the action. The New England Patriots lost cornerback Stephon Gilmore and quarterback Cam Newton for one game while the Tennessee Titans had more than 20 members of the team test positive. The previously scheduled Week 4 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers moved to Week 7.
The Las Vegas Raiders nearly had to postpone Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to positive COVID-19 tests. Offensive tackle Trent Brown tested positive and sparked concern among the front office staff members. They began contact tracing but had to send all five starting offensive linemen home until they could clear the players. Ultimately, four of the five starters were able to suit up for Sunday's loss while Brown and safety Johnathan Abram both missed the game.