The NFL postponed three weekend games amid a worrying spate of COVID-19 infections across various teams across the league.
Las Vegas’ visit to Cleveland was postponed from Saturday to Monday. Seattle’s games at the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Rams in Philadelphia were postponed from Sunday to Tuesday.
The Browns were at risk of losing as many as 16 of their regular players for Saturday’s engagement, so that match is now scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. ET Monday (2200 GMT). . It will be televised on the NFL Network.
Washington and Philadelphia will meet at 7:00 pm on Tuesday (0000 GMT), same time as the game between Seahawks and Rams. Both games will be broadcast on Fox and will be available on Sunday Ticket.
“We have made these calendar adjustments based on medical advice and after discussing it with the NFLPA (the players union) as we are experiencing a new highly contagious form of the virus this week, which caused a substantial increase in cases throughout the league ”, detailed the NFL in a statement. “We will continue to make decisions in consultation with medical experts to ensure the health and safety of the NFL community.”
Previously, the NFL had no plans to reschedule any game due to COVID-19 outbreaks. He had even warned that the no-losses rule “might apply.” But recent events with the omicron variant have forced the league to change its stance – as have several outbreaks across different teams in the league heading into Matchday 15 of the regular season.
The new measure was not well received by some Raiders players.
“I follow the rules only to be lied to and the rules are adapted,” criticized linebacker KJ Wright in a tweet addressed to the league and the players’ union. “If it had been the other way around, I swear we’d play tomorrow.”
The NFL’s decision comes after a person with knowledge of the situation the Browns are dealing with revealed to The Associated Press that defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had joined the team’s extensive COVID-19 roster.
Clowney tested positive, as did linebackers Mack Wilson Sr. and Tony Fields, according to the person, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Cleveland was still testing.
Also on Friday, Saints head coach Sean Payton tested positive for coronavirus and was immediately isolated from the team.
Payton, who is vaccinated and had already contracted the coronavirus in 2020, will remain in quarantine for 10 days unless he meets the requirements established by the NFL so that a fully vaccinated individual can return to his team’s facilities.
The Saints announced that defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has been assigned the duties of head coach for Sunday night’s game in Tampa Bay. Payton is expected to return for New Orleans’ game against the Miami Dolphins on December 27.
For its part, Washington added quarterback Taylor Heinicke to the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve roster on Friday, creating complete uncertainty in the team’s plans for their engagement in Philadelphia.
Based on updated league rules, Heinicke still has a chance to play if he tests negative twice and he remains asymptomatic. Backup quarterback Kyle Allen entered coronavirus protocols on Tuesday and there is also the possibility of having him if he complies with the procedures.
Practice team quarterback Kyle Shurmur could be assigned to face the Eagles in the event that neither Heinicke nor Allen are available. Shurmur played at the college level with Vanderbilt and is the son of Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Washington also signed Garrett Gilbert from the New England Patriots practice team on Friday. Gilbert started an NFL game with Dallas and is familiar with head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner from when he played for them in 2018 with the Carolina Panthers.
With the addition of Heinicke and the removal of center Keith Ismael from the COVID-19 roster, Washington has 21 players discarded for coronavirus-related reasons, including two players on the injury reserve list and two from the practice team.
Washington (6-7) currently has the final wild-card ticket in the National Conference as it prepares to face the Eagles on Matchday 15, who are also 6-7 and returning from their bye week.
Also on Friday:
—Buffalo sent starting left tackle Dion Dawkins to the COVID-19 list, leaving his status uncertain for Sunday’s game against Carolina.
—Myles Gaskin of the Dolphins received clearance to return to practice. Miami had three running backs on the COVID-19 list before Gaskin could rejoin for Sunday’s game with the Jets.