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Latest On Ravens' COVID Situation

We learned that Ravens tight end Mark Andrews was the latest member of Baltimore’s organization to test positive for COVID-19 in yesterday’s round, and there apparently were more this morning. There were multiple player/staff positives in Sunday’s round of testing, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. At least one of those positives was receiver Willie Snead, Jamison Hensley of The Athletic tweets. As he notes, Snead is the seventh offensive starter to test positive, and there have now been eight consecutive days with a positive test within the team.

Florio writes that it’s believed the league will opine these positives are a result of the “tail end” of the outbreak, and that Tuesday’s game against the Steelers is still on for now. Meanwhile the Ravens are planning on convening at their facility tonight in order to condition and then have a walkthrough tomorrow, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports tweets. He notes that all work will be done on outdoor fields and players won’t be allowed inside the locker room.

  • While the Ravens have obviously had it worse, the Steelers have also had their fair share of COVID-19 issues as they approach Tuesday night. Pittsburgh will be without both special teams coordinator Danny Smith and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada due to illnesses, Brooke Pryor of ESPN tweets. Canada plays a pretty large role in the offensive game-planning, so that’s a significant loss.

Ravens’ Mark Andrews Tests Positive For COVID-19

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews has tested positive for COVID-19, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Andrews, a Type 1 diabetic with elevated risk, has ben ruled out for Tuesday night’s game against the Steelers. 

Andrews is now the eleventh Ravens player to test positive for COVID-19 and the 20th player to hit the reserve list, which also includes players who have been exposed to the virus. In addition, ten Ravens staffers have tested positive, putting the team under a great deal of scrutiny. For now, the plan remains for the game to be played on Tuesday, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Ravens intend to have their players return to the facility on Sunday night for conditioning, marking their first in-person gathering in days.

The league already postponed this game twice. A third postponement may lead the league to one of their two contingency plans — either rescheduling to “Week 18” or, if there are more cancelations, a historic 16-team playoff bracket.

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Ravens Place 6 More On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Ravens now have 20 players on their reserve/COVID-19 list. A day after practice squad tackle Will Holden‘s positive COVID-19 test, Baltimore now has nearly a third of its active-roster/P-squad players on the coronavirus list.

Slot corner Tavon Young (already on IR), edge rusher Jaylon Ferguson, guard D.J. Fluker, rookie defensive back Khalil Dorsey and rookie defensive lineman Broderick Washington joined Holden and 14 others on the team’s virus list Saturday.

Beyond Holden, it is not known if any of the other players involved in these latest COVID-related roster moves tested positive for COVID-19. But the timing of Holden’s positive test could make each of the four additional non-IR players included here unavailable for Tuesday’s game against the Steelers. Should the Ravens’ virus list expand much further, the NFL will have to postpone this game beyond Week 12.

The league has pushed this game back twice already. A third time would almost certainly mean triggering one of the two contingency plans. A makeup Week 18 window is believed to be the league’s Plan B, with Plan C being the 16-team playoff bracket that would stem from canceled regular-season games. Plan C going into effect would mean the first unbalanced NFL regular season (in terms of games played) since 1935.

Ravens Sign WR Dez Bryant To 53-Man Roster

After having been promoted twice, Dez Bryant will no longer have to ride the Ravens’ practice squad shuttle. The veteran wideout announced on Twitter that he’s been signed to Baltimore’s active roster.

The 32-year-old joined the Ravens practice squad in late October. He was promoted for Baltimore’s Week 9 win over the Colts, but he only played a pair of snaps. He saw much more playing time when he was promoted for the Ravens’ Week 11 loss to the Titans, hauling in four catches for 28 yards while appearing in 54 percent of his team’s offensive snaps.

Along with tight end Mark Andrews, receivers Marquise Brown and Willie Snead will continue to lead Baltimore’s inconsistent receiving corps. However, Bryant could continue seeing a role ahead of the likes of Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche.

“We’ll just keep working, and we’ll see where that leads moving forward,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said last week (via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley). “I don’t think there’s any real timeline right now, but I do think that if Dez keeps progressing, he will definitely become a factor in what we do.”

Bryant missed all of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, so despite having three 1,000-yard seasons (plus a pair of 800-plus-yard campaigns) on his resume, the veteran had to settle for a practice squad deal in 2020. While there certainly wasn’t much risk for either side, the move has clearly worked out for both the player and the organization.

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Ravens, Steelers Place 3 Players On Reserve/COVID-19 List

5:52pm: While a sixth straight day did produce a Ravens positive coronavirus test, just one player’s test came back positive Friday. Practice squad offensive lineman Will Holden tested positive, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Holden will become the 15th player on Baltimore’s reserve/COVID-19 list. This will continue to be the NFL situation to monitor over the next few days.

3:28pm: The Ravens and Steelers each moved three players to their respective reserve/COVID-19 lists Friday. This comes shortly after the NFL pushed the AFC North’s top rivalry back to Tuesday night.

Stephon Tuitt, defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins are now on the Steelers’ virus list, while the Ravens moved fullback Patrick Ricard, long snapper Morgan Cox and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike to theirs. Lamar Jackson also landed on Baltimore’s COVID list. The reigning MVP tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday; Ricard confirmed (via Twitter) he tested positive as well.

For the Ravens, this increases their COVID list to 14 players — including key cogs Jackson, Ricard, Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Matt Skura, Pernell McPhee, Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins. This concerning number resulted in the NFL moving the Ravens-Steelers rematch for a second time. The 7pm Tuesday slot, however, represents conceivably the final Week 12 window for this game. Another delay would test the NFL in a way previous virus issues have not.

It is not known if Tuitt tested positive. If he did not, he could still play Tuesday. Depending on when the standout defensive lineman’s last contact with a COVID-19-positive person occurred, he could still be activated in time for the Steelers’ Tuesday game. With the NFL moving Week 13’s Ravens-Cowboys game to Monday, Dec. 7, Jackson could be activated. Had the NFL kept that game on Thursday — which it will if the Steelers-Ravens tilt cannot be played Tuesday — Jackson would have been ineligible to return for that contest.

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NFL Moves Ravens-Steelers To Tuesday Night

2:28pm: This game is now slated for 7pm CT Tuesday. The Ravens’ Week 13 game against the Cowboys has been moved to 4pm CT on Monday, Dec. 7. The league has not announced a change for Pittsburgh’s Week 13 game against Washington, which remains on for Sunday, Dec. 6.

1:46pm: The Ravens-Steelers rematch will be rescheduled for a second time. The NFL is moving the AFC North rivalry from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday night, Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini of ESPN report (via Twitter).

Having already postponed the game originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night, the league has now pushed it back to what appears to be a fail-safe point. A Ravens coronavirus outbreak, one that has produced positive tests throughout the week, caused the postponements.

Double-digit Ravens players and staffers — a list that now includes Lamar Jackson — have tested positive for COVID-19. More test results are expected to arrive Friday. This will mark the first Tuesday game since Bills-Titans in October. However, the league is limited with options if more Ravens positives prompt another delay.

Another move would prompt the NFL to exercise its Week 18 emergency option or trigger the 16-team playoff format — if it simply calls off the Baltimore-Pittsburgh rematch. The NFL has not seen its teams play an uneven number of games since 1935.

The Ravens disciplined a strength and conditioning staffer earlier this week for failure to comply with the NFL’s evolving COVID-19 protocol. They will now be down the reigning MVP. Jackson and third-string quarterback Trace McSorley reside on Baltimore’s reserve/COVID list. Robert Griffin III will start against the Steelers, with undrafted rookie Tyler Huntley in line to be his backup. RG3 faced the Steelers last season, but that came in Week 17 last season after the Ravens had clinched home-field advantage.

This outbreak has led to a Steelers game being postponed for the second time this season. A Titans outbreak began an NFL rescheduling wave, moving the Steelers’ bye to Week 4. Pittsburgh is now on track for a Tuesday-Sunday double next week, with a game against Washington looming Dec. 6. The NFL, however, moved the Bills-Chiefs matchup back a day to accommodate the Bills. It may do the same for the Steelers. The Ravens’ Week 13 game against the Cowboys — originally slated for Thursday, Dec. 3 — will be moved.

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Latest On Steelers, Ravens

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin canceled Friday’s practice, per a club announcement. The Steelers are currently slated to face the Ravens on Sunday afternoon, but they don’t have much confidence in the game actually taking place. 

Four Ravens players tested positive for COVID-19 on Thanksgiving, including star quarterback Lamar Jackson. Before that, the Ravens were forced to shelve nose tackle Brandon Williams, defensive end Calais Campbell, and running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins on the reserve list. Other Ravens staffers were also kept away from the facility, leaving the NFL to bump Steelers-Ravens from Thursday night to early Sunday afternoon. All in all, the Ravens have placed ten players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including eight starters.

At this stage, it would be a surprise to see the two teams square off on Sunday. The league may compel the Ravens to forfeit the game, which would declare the Steelers as the winner by a score of 2-0. And, per the terms of the NFL’s agreement with the NFLPA, the teams would not be required to pay its players for a forfeited contest.

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COVID-19 Latest: Ravens, Williams, Browns

Earlier Wednesday, the NFL took the Ravens-Steelers rematch off its Thanksgiving schedule. That game is now on tap for 12:15pm CT Sunday. More is emerging on why the Steelers will see another of their games delayed. The Ravens disciplined a strength and conditioning coach for “conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff.” The Ravens are levying the discipline because the unnamed staffer did not report symptoms or consistently wear a mask or a contact tracing device, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). This is believed to have contributed to the Ravens’ outbreak — one that comes nearly two months after a Titans outbreak altered the Steelers’ schedule. Seven Ravens players and at least five staffers have tested positive for COVID. This will not only weaken Baltimore against Pittsburgh but potentially deplete team’s roster for its Week 13 Thursday game against Dallas.

Several teams shuffled their rosters because of COVID on Wednesday. Here is the latest:

  • 49ers left tackle Trent Williams tested positive for COVID-19 last week, per ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano (on Twitter). A cancer survivor, Williams has not experienced issues with the virus yet, Graziano tweets. Williams, who landed on the 49ers’ COVID list earlier this month as a high-risk close contact, is on track to miss San Francisco’s Week 12 game in Los Angeles.
  • Six players remain on San Francisco’s virus list. The 49ers removed Arik Armstead and center Hroniss Grasu on Wednesday.
  • Browns linebacker Sione Takitaki tested positive Wednesday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com (on Twitter). Takitaki played against the Eagles and returned an interception for a touchdown. The Cleveland starting linebacker’s positive test follows Myles Garrett‘s. Neither they nor Denzel Ward (injury) will be available for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. The Browns closed their facility Wednesday, but their Jags game remains on schedule.
  • The Bengals placed wide receiver Auden Tate and recently acquired offensive lineman B.J. Finney on their reserve/COVID-19 list. Cincinnati has seen staffers test positive, with D-line coach Nick Eason being the most recent. Eason was alerted of his positive test Tuesday. The Bengals now have five players on their reserve/COVID list.
  • Christian Wilkins is off the Dolphins‘ COVID list. Wilkins was not reported to have tested positive, but the second-year defensive lineman still missed two games after landing on the team’s virus list.
  • The Raiders activated Cory Littleton from their COVID list. The high-profile free agent addition has been out for two weeks due to a positive coronavirus test. Las Vegas’ defense remains shorthanded due to virus issues, with Clelin Ferrell testing positive last week and Lamarcus Joyner missing Sunday’s Chiefs game because of his status as a close contact.
  • Dante Fowler also tested positive two weeks ago and missed the Falcons‘ Week 11 game, but the big-ticket free agent addition is off the list now and on course to return to Atlanta’s lineup Sunday.
  • The Vikings and Chargers also removed players from their respective virus lists Wednesday. Minnesota activated guard Dru Samia; Los Angeles activated cornerback Brandon Facyson.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/25/20

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Football Team

NFL Postpones Ravens-Steelers Due To COVID-19

Thursday’s game between the Ravens and Steelers has been postponed due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests. Now, the two teams are set to meet on Sunday afternoon, though the league will continue to monitor the situation between now and then.

We learned yesterday that Baltimore was dealing with 10 total coronavirus cases, including five players. As Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter), the Ravens have actually had seven players test positive over the past three days: RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins — which we already knew about — QB Trace McSorley, OLB Pernell McPhee, DE Calais Campbell, C Matt Skura, and G/C Patrick Mekari, all of whom will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. As such, the league really had no other choice but to push back the game.

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network points out that the league did not make the decision because the Ravens would have been extremely shorthanded. After all, the players who tested positive won’t be allowed to play on Sunday either. Instead, a number of Baltimore players are (obviously) close contacts with those who tested positive, and the NFL wants to make sure the spread is contained (Twitter link).

Unfortunately, things could get worse for the Ravens. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the league and the team know how the outbreak began, and there is a chance more players will test positive. By Friday, the NFL expects to know if everything is under control or if the game will need to be postponed again.

If another postponement becomes necessary, this game will likely be the first one set in on the novel Week 18. The Ravens are scheduled to play the Cowboys next Thursday, so the league will not make them play a game on Monday or Tuesday before a Thursday night contest.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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