Coronavirus: Ravens-Steelers Thanksgiving clash moved from Thursday to Sunday
Baltimore Ravens placed outside linebacker Pernell McPhee on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, joining running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins and defensive tackle Brandon Williams; their Week 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers now scheduled for 6.15pm (UK time) on Sunday
Last Updated: 26/11/20 8:17am
The Thanksgiving night matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers has been switched from Thursday to Sunday, the NFL has announced, after a number of COVID-19 cases within the Ravens' camp this week.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has reported that the Ravens have had seven players test positive in three days, including most recently Matt Skura, Pat Makari and Calais Campbell, plus several coaches.
Baltimore had already placed running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, along with defensive tackle Brandon Williams. The Ravens have been doing team work virtually.
"This decision was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts," the league said in a statement. The game will now be played at 6.15pm (UK time) on Sunday.
Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster took to Twitter to express his unhappiness with the move, saying: "First the NFL takes away our bye week because another team cant get their Covid situation together, now they take away our Thanksgiving primetime game for the same reason. Smh."
Pittsburgh's bye week was originally scheduled for Week Eight of the season, but was moved forward to Week Four when the Tennessee Titans could not fulfil their fixture with the team due to a coronavirus outbreak.
First the NFL takes away our bye week because another team can’t get their Covid situation together, now they take away our Thanksgiving primetime game for the same reason. Smh.— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) November 25, 2020
The Steelers enter the game unbeaten at 10-0, while the Ravens are 6-4 and coming off a 30-24 overtime loss to the Titans on Sunday. Baltimore started the season 5-1 before dropping three of their past four games.
The Ravens had been discussing travel modifications ahead of Thursday's game, including flying to Pittsburgh on the day itself, and head coach John Harbaugh had said the roster was thinned to a troublesome degree ahead of the AFC North rivalry game.
The remaining Thanksgiving Day lineup features the Houston Texans at the Detroit Lions, followed by the Washington Football Team at the Dallas Cowboys, but with no game now scheduled for the traditional prime-time slot.
Unidentified Browns player tests positive
Elsewhere, the Cleveland Browns were practicing in shifts and holding players out as a precaution while dealing with a new round of COVID-19 issues.
The team temporarily closed its headquarters after a yet-to-be identified player tested positive. The Browns are conducting contact tracing to see if others players were exposed to the infected player.
In the meantime, head coach Kevin Stefanksi said practice ahead of Sunday's game at the Jacksonville Jaguars will be spaced out to reduce the risk of possible spread.
The Browns already have four players, including star defensive end Myles Garrett on the reserve/COVID list. Garrett missed Sunday's win over the Philadelphia Eagles and he'll also sit out this week's game against the Jags.