New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 27: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots looks on during the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

In light of Stephon Gilmore testing positive for COVID-19, a shot of the Patriots cornerback in close contact with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is causing some real concern.

As the clock wound down on the Chiefs’ 26-10 win over the Patriots, Mahomes and Gilmore embraced and spoke briefly on the field. Obviously, no masks or social distancing going on here.

So naturally, as is tradition on Twitter, people are understandably highlighting the moment – and jumping to the worst possible conclusions.

No sane person wants Mahomes to contract COVID-19. But if he did, it would be the most significant possible test for the NFL as to how they move forward with the 2020 season. It sure seems the league is doing all it can to keep the season going without even temporarily pausing it to get COVID under control. They expanded rosters and modified injured reserve for a reason.

But the disease is starting to cause real disruption in NFL locker rooms. The Patriots cancelled practice Wednesday in the wake of Gilmore testing positive. The Chiefs also have reason to be worried about Mahomes after he was in close contact with practice squad QB Jordan Ta’Amu, who also tested positive, let alone with Gilmore.

MORE: Stephon Gilmore tests positive for COVID-19

The Tennessee Titans also had another positive test on Wednesday, and have had over 20 between players and team personnel over the past week. The Las Vegas Raiders additionally had a player test positive. This all comes after the league implemented stricter COVID protocols.

At this point, it feels like the NFL would play through that scene in The Dark Knight Rises if it had to. But at what point will COVID-19 prove to be spreading too quickly to keep proceeding normally with games and practices?

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.