Patriots back at work, day after 5th player tested positive and other NFL Virus news

UNDATED (AP) — The New England Patriots are back at work, one day after a fifth player on the team tested positive for COVID-19.

The Patriots canceled practice Friday and later placed center James Ferentz on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They’re preparing for Sunday’s game against Denver. A Patriots spokesman said the team would proceed with its walkthrough, but all meetings would be virtual.

New England already had the Week 5 matchup against Denver postponed twice following four earlier positive coronavirus tests by players, including quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

The Broncos haven’t played since Oct. 1. If they play Sunday, they’ll have had 16 days between games. That’s one day longer than Tennessee’s layoff before the Titans beat Buffalo on Tuesday night following the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak, which affected two dozen members of the organization.

Denver’s layoff is the longest in the league since 2001, when the NFL postponed all games on the weekend following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In other virus-related NFL news:

— The Jacksonville Jaguars say a player on their practice squad has tested positive for the coronavirus. The initial result was confirmed by a second test Friday evening. The player was quarantined, and the team is reviewing contact tracing data to determine what further precautions need to be taken. Jacksonville decided to hold football activities remotely on Saturday in keeping with NFL protocols. The 1-4 Jaguars host 1-3 Detroit on Sunday and plan to play as scheduled.

— Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had a second negative COVID-19 test in 24 hours, clearing him to rejoin his teammates and play in Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Beckham was kept away from Cleveland’s facility and didn’t practice for two days after feeling ill on Thursday and being sent home. Under NFL coronavirus protocols, he had to twice test negative before being allowed back. The league has instructed teams to remove anyone showing symptoms similar to COVID-19 even if they are caused by a cold or the flu. Beckham didn’t practice, but the three-time Pro Bowler participated in team meetings remotely.