After another player tested positive for the coronavirus, the Bears shut down Halas Hall on Thursday. Meetings will be conducted virtually, but the team will not practice.
The unnamed player is already in isolation. He’s the fourth player to test positive this week. The Bears already already put three practice squad players on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list: inside linebacker Manti Te’o, defensive lineman LaCale London and receiver Thomas Ives.
The Bears put put the infected player on the reserve/COVID-19 list later Thursday. The team and the league are conducting contact tracing to see if any other players were close contacts; if so, they’d have to quarantine for five days.
Nagy said the team, at least initially, did not believe the new positive test was related to those of the practice squad players.
“Obviously we’re not exempt from this pandemic,” Nagy said. ‘We all know that cases are on the rise. And I just want to credit our players and coaches for adapting and staying flexible. It’s not easy. But we have the right mindset.”
The Bears are still scheduled to play the Texans on Sunday at Soldier Field. League-wide, it has taken remarkable circumstances to postpone a game. Last week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league will not postpone games, even if there’s an outbreak within an entire position group, “if we feel comfortable the rest of the team was not at risk.” He said all NFL clubs have known that stance all season long.
Postponing the game “has not been brought up or talked about,” Nagy said.
Some Bears players were already inside Halas Hall on Thursday morning when the team decided to close the facility, Nagy said. The Bears later held a team meeting on Zoom, during which Nagy told them that players could hold a walk-through on Thursday night at the Walter Payton Center, depending on advice from the team’s medical staff.
“We’ve had a few positive cases in the last week,” Nagy said. ‘We just felt like right now this is our decision to just hit the ‘pause’ button.”
Nagy said his players have been following the NFL’s strict protocols, which require extensive mask-wearing and require them to pass a point-of-care coronavirus test before entering the facility. He said, both Thursday and the day before, that he wasn’t worried about his players becoming less vigilant just because they’re having a frustrating season on the field.
“I think they are doing a good job,” he said. “They are following the rules. Again, when you leave this bubble: ‘What are you doing?’ But our guys have answered all of the questions and have done things as best as they can. Now it’s all about handling it.”