ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos awoke early Wednesday morning to the news another star New England Patriot player had tested positive for COVID-19.
The Broncos are scheduled to play the Patriots this Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.
Stephon Gilmore, who is not only the league’s best cornerback but the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus. He joins Patriots top quarterback Cam Newton and practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray as New England players who are currently dealing with COVID-19.
It was enough for the Patriots to cancel practice Wednesday. However, barring a further outbreak from the Patriots, the league is going forward with the Broncos-New England game as scheduled at 2:25 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s on,’’ a league spokesman told 9NEWS, which had inquired about the game. “Will let you know if something changes.”
A Broncos executive told 9NEWS prior to 6 a.m. Wednesday that the team was aware of the reported COVID-19 positive tests in New England and will continue to monitor developments while also going forward with preparations for the game Sunday.
“With all the COVID stuff, there are protocols in place,'' said Broncos edge rushing linebacker Bradley Chubb. "We’re just going to abide by those and if everybody is on the right page then hopefully we can play on Sunday, and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio is proceeding as if he and his team will get on their team plane Saturday and play Sunday in Gillette Stadium.
“We addressed it early in the team meeting today early and told everybody where it’s at,'' Fangio said. "This has been going on since we started with camp, so when you get a little uptick in the activity of it, you deal with it. I think these guys are good at handling adversity, moving on and focusing on the job. I don’t see it as a big issue that way.”
Broncos union player rep and kicker Brandon McManus said he talked with a union executive about the New England situation Wednesday morning.
“Me personally—I can’t speak for them—but me personally, I’m comfortable with traveling and going there,'' McManus said. "I’ve seen the protocols and they’ve worked in the past. They’ll continue to work as long as well have compliance with them. That’s the biggest thing. Just making sure we’re harping on the guys. If they’re hanging out with certain people all the time and they continue to be OK, then that’s fine. You don’t want to be hanging with outside people or new people.''
Broncos placekicker Brandon McManus was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance last Thursday night against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
McManus made field goals from 40, 54 and 53 yards – the latter was the go-ahead score with 3 minutes remaining – plus made all four of his 33-yard extra points in the Broncos’ 37-28 win.
McManus is 6 of 7 in field goals this season – his only miss was from 59 yards out in Pittsburgh – and 8 of 8 in extra points. He has also converted a field goal from 56 yards.
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