All eight players have tested positive for the virus (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero), putting their availability in doubt. Still, as of this writing, the game is still slated to go ahead as planned on Saturday (Twitter link).
On Monday alone, 36 NFL players — including Chargers tackleRashawn Slater — were placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list. Since then, the league has issued a memo requiring booster shots for all Tier 1 and 2 staff by Dec. 27. While players are not required to be vaccinated, coaches and trainers fall within Tier 1.
The Browns were already down three players on Sunday, including tight end David Njoku, thanks to the reserve/COVID-19 designation. Despite that, they still managed to beat the Ravens and advance to 7-6 on the year.
More tough news for the Cardinals. They were set to be without Rodney Hudson this week, but the team placed its starting center on IR Saturday, sidelining him for at least three games.
Hudson is battling rib and shoulder injuries. The Pro Bowl blocker will miss Cardinals games against the Browns, Texans and Packers. Arizona’s quest to remain unbeaten in Cleveland keeps becoming more difficult. Hudson, Chandler Jones, defensive lineman Zach Allen, HC Kliff Kingsbury and QBs coach Cam Turner are out. The latter four are sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.
Acquired via trade from the Raiders this offseason, Hudson has been one of the NFL’s top centers for several seasons. He represented Arizona’s top O-line add this year and joined J.J. Watt and A.J. Green as Pro Bowlers brought in this offseason. Veteran backup Max Garcia is set to start in Hudson’s place.
The Cardinals will receive some reinforcements, with defensive lineman Jordan Phillips coming off IR. A higher-end 2020 free agency addition, Phillips returned to practice earlier this week. He will return to game action after nearly a year away. The former Dolphins and Bills interior D-lineman went on IR with a hamstring injury midway through last season and suffered a back injury during this year’s training camp.