Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he continues to feel good about the team's coronavirus precautions and the NFL's chances of playing a full season, in the wake of the Sunday announcement of his two positive tests.
"I feel very good about the safety of our building, the protocols that are in place," said Pederson, 52, who is quarantined at home in Moorestown, N.J., away from other family members. "I have no symptoms whatsoever."
Pederson said he feels very fortunate to be asymptomatic, and he said that he can continue to perform most of his duties remotely, with the team not scheduled for a full practice until Aug. 12.
"I just finished up a bunch of player meetings, group meetings," via the internet, Pederson said, on a Monday Zoom call with reporters. "I'm not going to speculate on a timetable for me, I treat it just like (injured) players, so I'm not going to speculate on that. When I'm back, I'm back."
Pederson can return in as little as five days after his last positive test, if he can manage to test negative twice in a row, at least 24 hours apart. More likely he will return after 10 days in quarantine. In either case, he will need the approval of the Eagles' head physician and the league.
Pederson said last week that he felt safe as players began reporting to the facility, and touted the "NovaCare bubble," although players, coaches, and staffers leave that bubble every evening. Sources have said Pederson is believed to have contracted the virus outside the building. Pederson declined to discuss that Monday, other than to say: "One of the things that we all need to learn and what I need to learn, taking away from this, is obviously we need to protect ourselves when we are in the community away from the building, continue to wash our hands, wear our mask, do the social distancing that medical teams and doctors have prescribed."
"My confidence hasn't changed at all," he said. "I'm extremely optimistic. I feel we're going to play, I'm confident we're going to play."
Pederson is the second NFL head coach to test positive, following the New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton, who was sidelined in the spring but has returned to the team. Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson announced last week that he has tested positive, and he was joined on the COVID reserve list by fellow offensive lineman Jordan Mailata and linebacker Nate Gerry. It isn't clear whether Mailata and/or Gerry tested positive, or merely had been in close contact with someone who tested positive. ESPN reported that Eagles passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Press Taylor has gone into quarantine because he as spent a lot of time around Pederson, though Taylor thus far has tested negative.
When Pederson spoke with reporters last week, he acknowledged that contingency plans were in place for coaches or staff members testing positive. He referred to those remarks Monday and reiterated that he doesn't believe the Eagles' preparation for the season hinges on his health status.
"Since I've been head coach in Philadelphia, it's never been about one guy or one group of guys," said Pederson, who is preparing for his fifth season. "It's been about everybody. This is no different. I'm fortunate that this is happening at this time of our season, our training camp at the beginning, and not necessarily, say, in October, November, where you could miss games. It's a matter of just protecting each other, and our goals don't change. We're going to continue to press forward, one day at a time."
Pederson said Monday that he'd spent quite a bit of time thinking about the contingency issue before he knew it would affect his status.
"This is why I feel really, really good about my staff, the guys that I have in place to carry the torch, so to speak, in somebody's absence, and of course, in my absence at this time. The same way with players. I guess you treat it just like if a guy were to get hurt and they are going to miss some time, and you have to have the next guy prepared and ready to go, and this is no different," he said.
Pederson has set the usual 11 p.m. training camp curfew for players, but most of them aren't under team supervision in the evening, other than rookies staying at a team hotel near NovaCare. Veterans have the option of staying at the hotel or going home.
"Once they leave the building, they are on their own and it's up to me and my staff and our trainers and doctors to educate them on the protocols outside of the building," said Pederson, who added that he feels his situation gives him credence as "kind of an ambassador, to be a leader, to really educate our team on how to protect ourselves outside the building."
(c)2020 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.inquirer.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.