The Browns’ COVID outbreak reached critical mass on Wednesday morning.
Winger Baker Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski have tested positive for the virus just a day after the Browns put eight players on the COVID list. Their status is currently uncertain with Cleveland scheduled to play Saturday afternoon against the Raiders.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that there was no discussion of changing the state of the game. As a result, the Browns will have to prepare to play without their two key pieces, an attacker and a leader on the sidelines.
Here’s a breakdown of how Mayfield’s absence could affect the Browns.
Is Baker Mayfield fighting the Raiders?
Mayfield’s condition against the Raiders is uncertain. He will need to test negative for COVID twice before the game’s 4:30pm ET start time, and negative tests must be at least 24 hours apart. So he basically has to test negative at least once on Friday morning to have a chance to play.
That may prove a tall order for Mayfield, but it’s also worth noting that he appears to be symptom-free. ESPN’s Adam Schefter Reported That Mayfield “Feels Completely Normal,” So At least Bring Cleveland some hope that he can play.
Browns Baker Mayfield’s QB is said to “feel completely fine,” according to a source, but he has tested positive for COVID. Now Case Keenum is gearing up to start Saturday against the Raiders, with Nick Mullens as his substitute.
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 15, 2021
It’s been a tough time, though, and with the game still in place – at least for now – Cleveland fans probably shouldn’t expect Mayfield to play. Instead, Case Keenum will start for the second time this season.
Keenum, 33, started the game against the Broncos in Week 7, while Mayfield faced numerous injuries. He defended the Browns in a 17-14 win in “Thursday Night Football” and completed 21 of 33 199-yard passes and a touchdown. He’s a solid backup and will at least give the Browns a chance to stay in the game with the Raiders.
Nick Mullens, 26, will be Keenum’s backup if Mayfield is absent. He hasn’t competed this year but has been with Cleveland since joining their practice team on September 1. He has a 5-11 career record with 25 TDs and 22 INTs.
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Is Baker Mayfield vaccinated?
Looks like Baker Mayfield was vaccinated. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported pre-season that Mayfield was still wearing a mask in the Browns’ building during the June minicamp but returned without a mask after the summer break.
Mayfield also talked about the “competitive advantage” that vaccinations give teams across the NFL.
“It certainly creates a competitive advantage for higher vaccine rates in your group just because of the close association. [rules] and what happens if someone unfortunately gets COVID, what could happen to the rest of the building,” Mayfield said in July.
“It is a competitive advantage but it is more than that,” he added, “It is about safety and general health and well-being of human life. So I’ll leave it at that. ”
So while Mayfield may be out of action on Saturday, he will get a chance to play in the Browns’ Week 15 Christmas Holiday game against the Packers. He just remains symptom-free.
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