Panthers working virtually on Monday, Tuesday as guard Michael Schofield goes on COVID list

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have instructed players, coaches and other staff to work virtually from home on Monday and Tuesday after receiving an unconfirmed positive test result for COVID-19.

The training room at Bank of America Stadium was open to essential personnel and players such as running back Christian McCaffrey (high ankle sprain) who are going through treatment.

The person with the unconfirmed test was retested Monday.

Backup guard Michael Schofield later on Monday was placed on the NFL's COVID-19 list. Schofield missed last Thursday's practice, the same day as backup guard Tyler Larsen. Schofield practiced on Friday and Saturday, and was active for Sunday's game against Chicago.

On Friday, Larsen was placed on the COVID-19 list. A league source said Larsen tested positive and was sent home immediately. There was no immediate indication whether the latest test was related to a player who worked closely with Larsen.

Being placed on the list can mean a player either tested positive for coronavirus or was exposed to the virus. Teams us contact tracers to determine exposure.

Schofield is Carolina's third guard to go on the COVID-19 list, joining Larsen and Chris Reed. He started the first two games for Reed, who had a confirmed coronavirus at the end of training camp.

The team continued to work at the stadium last week. No reason was given for the decision to work remotely Monday and Tuesday other than those days were light meeting days already. The team currently plans to have players, coaches and staff return to the facility Wednesday.

Team spokesperson Steven Drummond said the decision to have other personnel work remotely was made out of an "abundance of caution." He said the team remained under the intense protocol it entered Wednesday after playing an Atlanta Falcons team that had a player test positive for the coronavirus after the teams met on Oct. 11.

Coach Matt Rhule said he got a call at 4:48 a.m., after Sunday's 23-16 loss to the Chicago Bears, informing him of the unconfirmed test. After coming to the stadium for his daily COVID-19 test, he returned home to work.

"It's like anything else, we'll take everything as it comes," Rhule said. "I always try to find the positive. I told our staff take this time with no distractions, go back and watch yesterday's game, games we played the weeks before, and let's try to find areas we haven't played well."

Rhule said he hopes the team is able to resume normal activities on Wednesday, which is typically a padded practice.

Last week, because of the intense protocol that required players to wear masks and gloves in practice, Rhule didn't hold his normal padded practice on Wednesday or Thursday. He didn't speculate on whether that had an impact in Sunday's performance in which he called it "global" failure on almost all aspects of the offense against a physical Chicago team.

"It was what it was," Rhule said. "We got in a routine and kind of do what we do, and we didn't do that last week. ... I live by the statement 'Don't make excuses.' I hate to come off like we're making excuses. I look forward to getting back on Wednesday and putting the pads on and getting back to work.

"That's who we are. We're a gritty, tough group. We want to be a tough group, and that happens in practice."