As of Friday, the Browns have had a total of 24 players — 12 starters, including the punter — who either tested positive for COVID-19 this week or were still on the reserve/COVID-19 list from last week. The Rams have 29 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including receiver Odell Beckham Jr., cornerback Jalen Ramsey, outside linebacker Von Miller and four other starters. Los Angeles’ list includes tight end Tyler Higbee, who missed Monday night’s game with what was deemed a false positive, but was added again Friday. The Seahawks also placed leading receiver Tyler Lockett and running back Alex Collins on the COVID list on Thursday. Washington has 23 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list including quarterback Taylor Heinicke and backup Kyle Allen.
The Raiders fought their scheduling change, believing the protocols over the summer were clear that outbreaks would result in forfeiture, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
However, NFL policy agreed to in July states that a forfeiture would happen only if all the following instances occur: (1) a game is postponed by requirement of government authorities or at the discretion of the commissioner; (2) the league can’t find a suitable makeup date within the framework of the season; and (3) the original postponement was caused by an outbreak among unvaccinated players of one team.
Las Vegas owner Mark Davis told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez that moving the team’s game against the Browns to Monday put the Raiders at a “competitive disadvantage.”
“Health and safety is No. 1, but it’s tough,” Davis told ESPN. “Maybe Cleveland should travel here. That would make it more fair.”
Eagles safety Rodney McLeod took to Twitter to vent about his team’s schedule change.
So we have to suffer, and compromise our schedule because of another teams mistake. Make it make sense! Smh
— Rodney McLeod (@Rodney_McLeod4) December 17, 2021
A source told ESPN’s Brady Henderson the Seahawks were also unhappy over their game being postponed and would have preferred to play the game on Sunday as scheduled.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo on Friday afternoon to all 32 teams concerning COVID protocols and playing schedule.
“We will make every effort, consistent with underlying health and safety principles, to play our full schedule within the current 18 weeks,” Goodell said in the memo, adding that, “Each club is obligated to have its team ready to play at the scheduled time and place. There is no right to postpone a game, and games will not be postponed or rescheduled because of roster issues affecting a particular position group or particular number of players.”
Information from ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry, Jake Trotter, Brady Henderson and John Keim was used in this report.