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Panthers send team home after 'somewhat significant' COVID-19 positive tests, Rhule says

Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the whole team was sent home Monday after several tests came back positive following Sunday's 32-6 loss against Tampa Bay.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said the entire team was sent home from the facility Monday due to a "somewhat significant" number of positive COVID-19 tests. 

As of Monday morning, the Panthers had eight players on the NFL's COVID-19 list, including one member of the practice squad. Wide receiver Brandon Zylstra was added to the list before Sunday's game against Tampa Bay. 

"To stop the spread or an outbreak, we sent everybody home," Rhule said. "Hopefully we'll be able to get back in the building on Wednesday." 

The team added six players to the COVID-19/reserve list Monday: Pass rusher Brian Burns, linebacker Shaq Thompson, defensive end Marquis Haynes, defensive tackle Phil Hoskins, defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon and center Matt Paradis. Nixon and Paradis were already on injured reserve and out for the season. 

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Rhule also discussed his job security, saying he had a positive conversation with team owner David Tepper. The Panthers have fallen to 5-10 since starting 3-0 and were officially eliminated from the playoffs Sunday. 

"He's been unbelievably supportive," Rhule said of Tepper. "All of our conversations this morning were about the best things to do moving forward. He’s been tremendously supportive and shown me a ton of confidence. We’re certainly not where we want to be but we knew that this was something that was gonna have to be done right. Dave’s been nothing but great to me and I appreciate his confidence.” 

The Panthers are scheduled to hit the road for their next-to-last game at New Orleans, which is scheduled for a 4:25 p.m. kickoff. 

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