FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday morning that the team’s facility will remain closed through at least the rest of the day, as “it’s the health and safety of the team first and football second.”
Belichick added that the Patriots are still preparing to play Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium (CBS, 4:25 p.m. ET) until advised otherwise by those making medical decisions for the team and NFL. The Patriots, who are holding all meetings virtually, received no new positive tests from Wednesday’s results that came back late Wednesday, according to a source.
The team placed cornerback Stephon Gilmore on the COVID-19/reserve list Wednesday after he tested positive. Quarterback Cam Newton had tested positive last Friday, while practice-squad defensive tackle Bill Murray was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list Tuesday. Being on the list does not mean a player has tested positive for the coronavirus; it could also mean he has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
Of his level of concern for the continued health and safety of the team, Belichick said, “There’s nothing more important than the health of the team. Without a healthy team, you don’t have a team. That’s priority number one, and I’d say not only to our team, but to their families and people that are close to them. That’s always our number one concern. We try to do everything we can to make that the best we can make it. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s not going to change.”
Belichick, 68, was asked how he is feeling personally, and said he was “great.”
The Patriots haven’t been able to practice with their facility closed the last two days.
“We continued our preparation for Denver with virtual calls and we’ll just kind of take the situation day by day,” Belichick said. “When we feel that it’s safe for everyone to come back, we’ll do that. We all have questions, and this is really more of a medical situation than a football situation. We’ll work through the decisions and input from the people in the medical field – combination of Patriots and league.”
With Gilmore testing positive after having played in Monday’s road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Belichick wouldn’t address if he felt the Patriots should have played that game.
“There are a lot of decisions that are out of our control, and so what I’m trying to do is focus on the things we have control over, and make the best decisions we can in those situations,” he said, adding that he feels as if the team has done everything possible, such as taking two planes to the game, traveling the day of the game, and adding extra busses for transport.
“I think we knew at the beginning of the season that there were going to be challenges, and there have been. We’re committed to working through them and that’s what we’re doing.”