7:03 AM ET
Tory Z. RoyESPN
When he stood up, a handful of Patriots headed his way, eager to acknowledge the reigning Super Bowl MVP as well as show their respect.
After quickly clasping hands with defensive lineman Byron Cowart, then linebacker Anfernee Jennings, Mahomes turned and faced cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was waiting his turn. As Mahomes leaned his right shoulder toward Gilmore’s chest, the two players did the unthinkable.
Once a normal postgame ritual, hugging during the coronavirus pandemic has been eschewed. Gilmore later tested positive for COVID-19 and Mahomes, despite the contact, did not contract the virus.
The postgame personal contact isn’t the only casualty in the war against COVID-19. The NFL has stopped another beloved player tradition: the swapping of jerseys in person after the game.
The NFL announced in July the trading of jerseys among players would be forbidden in 2020, and players were quick to respond.