Update 11/12/2020: Ravens cornerback Iman Marshall placed on Reserve/Covid-19 list ahead of upcoming Patriots game
While the Ravens’ original announcement of a new positive Coronavirus test within their organization did not include a name, the NFL’s transactions wire revealed on Thursday afternoon that cornerback Iman Marshall was the player in question. The second-year man did not have any high-risk contacts because he currently is on injured reserve: Marshall hurt his knee during the summer and will miss the remainder of the season.
The situation is therefore similar to Sony Michel’s: the Patriots running back was moved from IR to the Reserve/Covid-19 after his own positive test before later reverting back to IR.
Original story 11/12/2020: Ravens announce positive Covid-19 test ahead of upcoming game against the Patriots
While the New England Patriots may not have had a run-in with the Coronavirus in quite some time now after an outbreak in early October, their upcoming opponent just announced another positive test within its ranks: the Baltimore Ravens released a statement on Thursday morning that one of their players has been diagnosed with Covid-19, and that the entire organization has now been placed in the NFL’s protocols.
The announcement comes just one day after Marlon Humphrey returned from the Reserve/Covid-19 list; the All-Pro cornerback had previously tested positive on November 2 and missed one game as a result. Humphrey was back on the practice fields on Wednesday, participating in full capacity. Less than 24 hours later, the Ravens announced that one of his teammates has caught the virus as well:
We were informed this morning that a Ravens player has tested positive for Covid-19. He immediately began to self-quarantine, and our organization is now in the NFL’s intensive protocol.
There were no high-risk contacts, and no other player or staff member is required to isolate.
We will continue to work closely with the NFL, our team doctors and will follow their guidance.
Based on Baltimore’s statement that the as of yet unnamed player was not found to have any high-risk contacts within the team, and that no other players or staff members will have to quarantine, the expectation is that the upcoming game versus the Patriots is not in danger of being postponed. The situation will certainly be closely watched by the league, but unless additional people test positive, the Ravens will make the trip to New England.
The player in question himself, meanwhile, will likely have to sit out the contest. Under the NFL’s Covid-19 protocols, a symptomatic player cannot return for at least 10 days, while an asymptomatic player can either return after 10 days or following two consecutive negative tests separated by 24 hours. Given that the Ravens will likely depart for New England on Saturday, the positive test all but eliminates that player from participation.
The Patriots, of course, are no strangers to the league’s procedures given that they had numerous positive tests last month.
A total of eight players, including quarterback Cam Newton, guard Shaq Mason and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, had to be placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 list at one point. Newton and Mason had to miss one game each after being sent to the list, while Gilmore’s positive diagnosis later played a part in the NFL’s decision to the postpone New England’s Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos — a game that was played one week later.
That postponement has put pressure on the league’s decision makers in terms of keeping the schedule intact despite further positive cases across the league. The Patriots and the Ravens, for example, have no bye weeks remaining to take advantage of.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus situation, the NFL’s 32 owners unanimously approved a contingency plan earlier this week to expand the playoffs from seven to eight teams per conference in case some meaningful games would have to be canceled. So far, the league did not have to cancel any games — but a series of postponements has created a difficult environment to further amend the schedule.
Patriots-Ravens taking place as planned would therefore be good news for the teams, and the NFL as a whole.