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Experience, source work put AP ahead on NFL virus outbreak

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For more than a week, the biggest story in the NFL was not on the field but in the lab, with a COVID-19 outbreak among the Tennessee Titans. Long-established team beat writer Teresa Walker kept the AP on top of the story, checking in with her well-developed sources on many early mornings to break news on the latest tests and team status updates. Walker had her name on the NFL mainbar for seven days straight, and even helped report test updates in New England and New York.

With the help of pro football writer Barry Wilner, who has many of his own league sources, Walker revealed details about test results, team protocol violations, NFL coronavirus protocol changes and threats of punishment to organizations. Walker’s knowledge of the Titans helped her go deeper than just the test results in Tennessee, with insight into the team enriching her analysis of the situation that postponed the team’s last two games.

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The Tennessee Titans take part in the national anthem before an NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis, Sept. 27, 2020. – AP Photo / Jim Mone
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