FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bill Belichick is used to dealing with adversity, but he's never faced anything like this.
The New England Patriots have placed three players -- quarterback Cam Newton, defensive tackle Bill Murray and cornerback Stephon Gilmore -- on their COVID-19/reserve list since last Saturday.
Murray and Gilmore returned positive tests this week after Monday's game against the Chiefs in Kansas City, forcing the Patriots to close their facility Wednesday and Thursday to work remotely.
So, when can the team return to their building, and will they be able to play Sunday against the Denver Broncos? Belichick apparently is wondering the same thing.
"When we feel like it's safe for everyone to come back, then we'll do that," the Patriots head coach told reporters Thursday. "I'm sure you have a lot of questions, and I have a lot of questions. We all have questions. This is really more of a medical situation than a football situation, so we'll work through the decisions and input from the people in the medical field.
"We have a lot of questions on our end, but for right now, yesterday and today, we're closed and we're going to work virtually to prepare for Denver and just take it day by day. That's really about the best I can give you."
Despite the team's positive COVID-19 tests, Belichick insisted the organization has followed "all the NFL protocols" regarding COVID-19.
"There's nothing more important than the health of the team," Belichick said. "That's priority No. 1."
Belichick also deflected mention of a report that Gilmore was spotted dining with Newton on Friday night, which led to speculation that Newton spread the virus to Gilmore.
"All the information involving testing and contacts and everything else -- all the information that we had, we processed through medical on our end, medical people in the league and followed the protocols," Belichick said.
"I feel like we did everything that we could control. I think we did everything properly with the extra planes, the extra buses, the same-day travel, etcera, etcera. There's multiple things we could list there."
Our Tom E. Curran reported Wednesday that the Patriots have been somewhat irritated by the NFL's approach to COVID-19 in the wake of their same-day trip to Kansas City on Monday.
Belichick's comments Thursday hint at that irritation, and that he feels his team is doing everything it can to limit the spread of COVID-19.
"There are a lot of decisions out of our control," he added. "We're trying to focus on things we have control over."