SportsPulse: The Monday Night bout between the top two teams in the AFC was essentially a knockout with Kansas City dominating start to finish and reaffirming their status as the top team in the NFL. We reveal our risers and fallers in this week’s power rankings.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday morning he believes the NFL will be able to handle any COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our reactions to outbreaks of any nature will be a good exercise for us,” Jones told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan.
Then he pivoted.
“By the way, while we’re talking about it, I want to express my sensitivity and concern for the president,” Jones said. “No one in the world has the ability to handle this COVID any better than the office of the President of the United States. I’m very confident he’ll be able to continue governing. Really, really I’m sure he’s anticipated this, knowing him.
“He’s the hardest worker you’ve ever seen. Knowing him, he’ll be able to go on right on through this and hopefully not miss a beat.”
President Donald Trump tweeted early Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately,” he tweeted. “We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Friday, Trump was “feeling mild symptoms” but “energetic,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said. Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden tested negative Friday, his doctor said. Biden and Trump were in the same room Tuesday night in Cleveland for the first of three presidential debates.
The NFL has its first in-season cluster of COVID-19 cases after three weeks of uninterrupted play. Seven Tennessee Titans players and an additional six team personnel members tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. The NFL postponed the Titans’ game with the Steelers, giving each team a bye this week and shuffling Weeks 7 and 8 for an updated scheduled contest. The Titans closed their facility, per protocol.
“I’m more interested to seeing how we respond, how we react, our reactions to outbreaks of any nature,” Jones said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to be able to handle it.”
Jones reiterated his stance that the league can model a safe, functioning workplace. The Cowboys are expected to welcome roughly 25,000 fans for Sunday’s contest with the Browns after more than 21,000 attended their home opener two weeks ago.
“That’ll lead the NFL in attendance when we do that and we’re doing that, in my mind, very safely,” Jones said. “Mask up, use a lot of that hand lotion and do, do keep my distance. …I think if we all do this [we can] stay positive. The main thing I’m interested in doing is I don’t have time to have a bad time. I want to stay active and involved.”
Jones declined to say teams should be punished for outbreaks but said discipline in protocol is crucial.
“You can’t let someone go up and pull the red cord when they’re flying on an airplane,” Jones said. “You can’t just let someone open the emergency door. There’s got to be some heavy penalties for that because that involves the lives of a lot of people.
“I understand the discipline, and it’s there for a reason. Forgetting is not good enough. Not remembering is just not good enough. Are we all perfect in how we’re adhering to this? Of course not. But being on everyone’s mind is going to make a difference. And I think it’s made a difference in the NFL.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein
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