The NFL left it late, but the league finally made the decision to move Saturday’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Las Vegas Raiders to Monday at 5 p.m.
The decision to push back the game by two days comes as the Browns continue to be ravaged by COVID-19.
Week 15 @NFL schedule updates pic.twitter.com/EIjER3piSZ— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 17, 2021
In addition to Cleveland’s game, the league is also moving the Washington vs. Philadelphia and Seattle vs. Los Angeles Rams games from Sunday to Tuesday at 7 p.m. Both Washington (21 players) and the Rams (25 players) have been dealing with the same COVID-19 issues as the Browns.
The league explained the decision to move the games in a prepared statement:
“We have made these schedule changes based on medical advice and after discussion with the NFLPA as we are seeing a new, highly transmissible form of the virus this week resulting in a substantial increase in cases across the league. We continue to make decisions in consultation with medical experts to ensure the health and safety of the NFL community.”
The Browns added defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and linebackers Mack Wilson and Tony Fields II to the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday, bringing the number of players on the list to 21, along with head coach Kevin Stefanski and acting running backs coach Ryan Cordell.
The situation had gotten so bad for the Browns that the club signed quarterback Kyle Lauletta off the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday just so they would have someone to backup quarterback Nick Mullens, who is in line to start against the Raiders with quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum both on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Moving the game to Monday gives the Browns an opportunity to welcome back some of the players who would have missed the game on Saturday.
The NFL announced on Thursday a change to its COVID-19 protocols, which now says that if a player or staff member is vaccinated and asymptomatic for 24 hours, they can return after testing positive if they meet one of three criteria, according to The Beacon Journal:
Receive two PCR test results that are either negative or produce Cycle Threshold values of 35 or greater
Receive one PCR test result that is either negative or produces CT values of 35 or greater and a negative Mesa result from a test taken within 24 hours of the PCR test (both may be taken at the same time or less than 24 hours apart)
Receive two negative Mesa test results that may be taken concurrently but must be two separate swabs
So it will be a busy weekend in Berea as players are tested in the hopes that the Browns can be as close to whole as possible by Monday.
With today’s additions the players currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 are:
- Safety Ronnie Harrison
- Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney
- Linebacker Mack Wilson
- Linebacker Tony Fields II
- Quarterback Case Keenum
- Safety Grant Delpit
- Cornerback A.J. Green
- Linebacker Jacob Phillips
- Quarterback Baker Mayfield
- Guard Drew Forbes
- Tight end Austin Hooper
- Wide receiver Jarvis Landry
- Right guard Wyatt Teller
- Left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr.
- Defensive end Takkarist McKinley
- Cornerback Troy Hill
- Safety John Johnson III
- Defensive tackle Malik McDowell
- Defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo
- Running back Kareem Hunt
- Punter Jamie Gillan
Cleveland also ruled out cornerback Greg Newsome II and wide receiver Anthony Schwartz because of injuries, but they did activate linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. from the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Monday’s game will be televised nationally on NFL Network and in Cleveland on WOIO Channel 19.