Eagles coach Doug Pederson tested positive for the coronavirus and was quarantining at home Sunday night, the team confirmed in a statement.
“We received confirmation this evening that head coach Doug Pederson tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement read. “Pederson is asymptomatic and doing well. He is currently in self-quarantine and in communication with the team’s medical staff.
“The organization is following the protocols established by the NFL and NFLPA. Any individuals in close contact with Pederson at our facility have been notified and will continue with daily testing procedures and compliance with all protocols before returning to the facility.”
Pederson will continue to lead the Eagles virtually as much as he can, a team source said. Assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley will assume head coaching responsibilities at the NovaCare Complex in Pederson’s absence, the source said.
The 52-year-old Pederson has been in close contact with various assistant coaches, team personnel and some players, a source said. Several members of the Eagles who have been around him told The Inquirer that they have thus far tested negative and reported no symptoms of the virus.
One staffer did initially test positive, but it was deemed false after subsequent tests came back negative, sources said. ESPN reported that another staffer who had been near Pederson recently was sent home from the team facility to quarantine.
Pederson joins Lane Johnson as the second member of the Eagles known to have contracted the coronavirus. The 29-year-old tackle announced Wednesday that he had become infected, the same day the Eagles placed him on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Linebacker Nathan Gerry and tackle Jordan Mailata were also placed on the list, but it’s unclear whether they had been infected or were placed on the list because of contact with someone who was.
Pederson was believed to have contracted the virus from outside the facility, according to ESPN. Pederson said just last week, as the Eagles continued to bring players in for training camp, that he felt “extremely safe” at the team facility in South Philadelphia.
He praised the new protocols put in place by the NFL.
“I feel extremely safe,” Pederson said. “Obviously, coming into it, there might have been some skepticism about the testing and the screening that goes on. But this is very thorough. When you’re here, you get tested in the morning, you’ve got a screening process you have to go through to get into the building, wearing masks in the building everywhere we go, I feel extremely safe.
“This is our bubble, right here in NovaCare.”
But the NFL’s return won’t be in a “bubble” similar to the environments constructed by the NBA, NHL, and MLS. Coaches and players are permitted to leave the NovaCare and return to their homes and are free to socialize without contact tracing.
Pederson becomes the second known NFL head coach to test positive for COVID-19, following New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who announced he had contracted the virus in March. The league was in full offseason mode four months ago. Pederson’s infection comes as the NFL attempts to pull off camps in 32 cities after already limiting practice time and canceling the preseason.
To return to the NovaCare Complex, Pederson has several protocols he must clear:
— Ten days must pass since his first postive test; or
— Five days must pass since he initially tested positive and he receives two consecutive negative PCR virus tests, at least 24 hours apart, within that five-day period; and
— The Eagles’ head physician, after consulting with Infection Control for Sports and the NFL chief medical office, determines he may return to the team facility and interact with other Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals (other coaches, players, medical and training staff and front office personnel).