New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Bill Belichick Says It’s Safety First for the Patriots

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,” Mike Riess of ESPN Boston reports.

Belichick added that the Patriots are still preparing to play Sunday’s game against the 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 reserve/COVID-19 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 reserve/COVID-19 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 No. 1, and I’d say not only to our team but to their families and people that are close to them. That’s always our No. 1 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.”


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