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If Doug Pederson isn't immune, how likely are Eagles players to contract coronavirus?

Jeff McLane, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Football

PHILADELPHIA -- Doug Pederson wasn't interested in revealing how he was, or how he might have been, infected with the coronavirus.

"It's something that I don't necessarily want to comment on for myself or speculate on for anyone else," the Eagles coach said Monday during a virtual news conference, a day after he tested positive.

Pederson's affliction, even if he is asymptomatic, might be a litmus test for the eventuality that others will unknowingly bring COVID-19 into the NovaCare Complex. He is believed to have contracted COVID-19 from outside the team facility and to have not spread it to Eagles coaches, players, and personnel with whom he was in close contact, team sources said.

But Pederson and the team aren't out of the woods -- he could still develop symptoms and it could take days before the Eagles know if others had contracted the virus -- and the same could be said of the season as a whole.

There will be more individual cases. The fear is that one will lead to more, or possibly an outbreak that could pose significant harm to those most vulnerable, and to a lesser extent the Eagles' season. Assuming Pederson had taken the necessary precautions, even he wasn't immune.

"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," Pederson said from his home office, "continue to wash our hands, wear our mask, do the social distancing that medical teams and doctors have prescribed."

 

But that clearly isn't enough and won't be enough with the NFL moving forward without bubble-like environments, players free to return to their homes and families on a daily basis, and contract tracing restricted to team facilities.

Pederson can harp on the importance of self-quarantining and of how one player can affect another, but similar warnings about personal conduct and responsibility haven't previously stopped players from off-the-field incidents. Perhaps that is why he said he won't have additional rules for social distancing outside the NovaCare.

"It's typical training camp," Pederson said. "We have curfew at 11 (p.m.) at the hotel. The days are filled. We're on a 12-hour workday with the players, and there's not a lot of time at the end of the day. 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."

For most players, there are more than enough reasons to not risk getting the coronavirus; chief among them, perhaps, is hindering their opportunities with the team. Doing the bare essentials should be easy enough, and that includes extreme examples like avoiding large indoor gatherings.

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