After Covid-19 scare, Bengals game vs. Colts on as scheduled for Sunday

The Cincinnati Bengals' game against the Indianapolis Colts remains on as scheduled Sunday after the Colts were cleared of an initial scare that COVID-19 was running through the organization.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Colts had one player and three staff members test positive, but all four came back negative after they were re-tested Friday morning.

The Colts announced early Friday that Thursday’s tests had come back with concerning results, so they shut down their practice facility and planned to continue working remotely while following NFL protocols.

Meanwhile, the Bengals continued on as normal.

“We’ve just proceeded as if we were playing the game, and that’s going to be the case,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said after practice Friday, following confirmation the game was on. “It didn’t distract us at all. ... We made it very clear from the first meeting we had this morning at 7:30 that we’re planning on this football game, we’re planning on playing it and there was no discussion about it.”

The Bengals haven’t experienced any setbacks with COVID-19, either with their opponent or their own players testing positive ahead of games, but Taylor said the scare Friday just further drives home the importance of taking the NFL health and safety protocols seriously.

“I think it just in general with what’s happening around the league, it’s just good for us every single day to be on top of those details,” Taylor said. “(Athletic trainer) Paul Sparling does a good job in the team meetings, talking with the team every time we have a team meeting, about the protocols. Guys have done a really good job of staying on top of each other with the social distancing, the mask wearing. I think that our team is doing a really good job right now of staying focused on that and also getting work done that we need to get done to get ready for our opponents.”

The league made some changes this week to the protocols, which impacted the Bengals practice schedule Monday as more meetings are being done virtually from off site. Taylor said the changes don’t impact the routine too much, though.

“We just focus on the things that directly affect our day,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t say there’s much that directly affects us. We make sure we communicate that at the right time with the players. It was probably more distracting in July and August when you’re first going through it. Now you just get the information that affects you, you make the adjustment and you keep moving forward without it being a distraction.”

Also of note on Friday, Taylor indicated Joe Mixon is good to go for Sunday after taking off Thursday for personal reasons. Wide receiver A.J. Green, who experienced discomfort in his hamstring the last game against the Ravens, and cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who has been out with a hamstring injury, should both be available Sunday, but wide receiver Auden Tate is questionable.

Indianapolis is coming off a 32-23 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The Browns reported no positive tests Friday.

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