The NFL has postponed three weekend games amid a wave of Covid-19 that has “seen a substantial increase in league cases.”
The league announced Friday that Saturday’s game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cleveland Browns has been moved to Monday, while Sunday’s meeting between the Washington soccer team and the Philadelphia Eagles, and the game Seattle Seahawks versus Los Angeles Rams were moved to Tuesday.
“We have made these schedule changes based on medical advice and after discussion with the NFL Players Association, as we are seeing a new, highly transmissible form of the virus this week, resulting in a substantial increase in cases in the league, âthe NFL said. in a report.
As of Friday, the Browns had 24 players – including a dozen starters – either tested positive for Covid this week or remained on the Covid reserve list from last week’s tests.
The sidelined players included not only starting quarterback Baker Mayfield but also substitute Case Keenum, and the NFLPA has reportedly called for the game to be postponed since Thursday.
The Rams had 25 players on the Covid roster, including wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Twenty-one of those players had landed on the reserve roster since Tuesday.
Washington also had more than 20 players on the Covid-19 reserve roster, including quarterback Taylor Heinicke and replacement Kyle Allen.
As the Browns’ business piled up on Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said there “had been no discussion” about postponing games.
On Thursday, the league revealed improved safety protocols designed to slow the push across the league, which follows a relatively smooth opening three months into the season.
The spike in positive cases comes amid global concern over the spread of the Omicron variant, which has been blamed for a new wave of infections.
The NFL said Thursday that all coaches and player staff will be required to wear face covers at team facilities, regardless of vaccination status, and all team meetings are to be held at outside or remotely.
Players will be prohibited from dining together in a group. Meals will be âtake outâ and players must be seated 10 feet from each other.
No outside visitors will be allowed during the team’s travels.
The league said it would “strongly encourage” players to receive booster shots, but did not issue a warrant.
At the same time, the league has also fine-tuned its return-to-play protocols for vaccinated players who test positive for Covid-19 but are asymptomatic.
According to the previous rules, a vaccinated player who tests positive must produce two negative tests 24 hours apart before they can return.
The new protocol uses “viral load” measurements that could allow faster return to play for vaccinated players who test negative.