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Timeline: How the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak unfolded, culminating with Cam Newton’s positive test

Cam Newton shouts on the sidelines during the Patriots' season opener.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

In the past week, almost two dozen NFL players and staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, including Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, whose positive test was reported Saturday morning.

After an outbreak earlier in the week caused the Titans to shutter their team facilities, reports emerged Saturday that one more Titans player and two Titans staffers tested positive.

Here is the rundown of how the NFL got to this point:

Saturday, Sept. 26

▪ Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell tests positive for COVID-19 and is placed on the COVID IR.

▪ Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen tests positive, two days after a team’s practice squad player tested positive. Bowen is not allowed to travel with the team for its Week 3 game on the road against the Vikings.



▪ The Falcons play their game against the Bears despite Terrell’s positive test. They lose, 30-26. Falcons secondary coach Joe Whitt said he “can’t wait to get [Terrell] back.”

▪ The Titans beat the Vikings, 31-30.


▪ Three Titans players are placed on the COVID IR, including lineman DaQuan Jones and long snapper Beau Brinkley. Five team personnel also test positive, prompting a shutdown of the team’s facilities.


▪ Titans outside linebacker Kamalei Correa becomes the fourth Titans player to test positive for COVID-19.


▪ Titans rookie cornerback Kristian Fulton becomes the fifth player on the team to test positive, prompting the NFL to postpone Sunday’s game against the Steelers to Oct. 25 during Week 7.


▪ Two more Titans players test positive, bringing the team’s total number of cases to 15. The NFL sends a notice to players and coaches saying they are not allowed to leave their home city during their bye week, and they must report for daily testing. A missed test results in a $50,000 fine, and a second missed test results in a one-game suspension without pay.



▪ One more Titans player and two more Titans staffers tested positive, according to multiple reports, bringing the team’s total to 18.

▪ The Vikings prepare to depart for Houston, where they will play the Texans on Sunday, after all their COVID-19 tests come back negative. The Vikings received two rounds of testing, the Star Tribune reports. The negative tests indicate that the virus did not spread from the Titans to the Vikings.

▪ ESPN reports that Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. The NFL announced it is postponing the team’s Week 4 game with the Chiefs, which was scheduled for 4:25 p.m. on Sunday. The game will be moved to either Monday or Tuesday.

Read more on Cam Newton and the Patriots' situation here.