The Browns’ COVID outbreak reached a critical mass Wednesday morning.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive for the virus just a day after the Browns put eight players on the COVID list. His statuses are now uncertain with Cleveland scheduled to play Saturday afternoon against the Raiders.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that there have been no discussions on how to change the state of the game. As such, the Browns will have to prepare to play without two of their key pieces, one on offense and one as a bandleader.
Here’s a breakdown of how Mayfield’s absence could affect the Browns.
Is Baker Mayfield playing the Raiders?
Mayfield’s status for the game against the Raiders is uncertain. You will need to test negative for COVID twice prior to the game start time at 4:30 pm ET, and negative tests must be separated by at least 24 hours. So essentially you have to test negative at least once on Friday morning to get a chance to play.
That may be a difficult task for Mayfield, but it is worth noting that he appears to be asymptomatic. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Mayfield “feels completely normal,” so he at least hits Cleveland. Some I hope I can play.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is said to “feel completely normal,” according to a source, but he tested positive for COVID. Now Case Keenum is in line to start Saturday against the Raiders, with Nick Mullens as a backup.
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 15, 2021
Still, this is a time crisis, and with the game lagging, for now at least, Cleveland fans probably shouldn’t expect Mayfield to play. Instead, Case Keenum would start for the second time this season.
Keenum, 33, started against the Broncos in Week 7, while Mayfield faced a plethora of injuries. The Browns quarterback won 17-14 on “Thursday Night Football” and completed 21 of 33 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. He’s a solid endorsement and would at least give the Browns a chance to stay in the game with the Raiders.
Nick Mullens, 26, would be Keenum’s backup if Mayfield is out. He hasn’t played this year, but has been with Cleveland since joining their practice team on Sept. 1. He has a 5-11 career record with 25 TDs and 22 INTs.
Is Baker Mayfield vaccinated?
Looks like Baker Mayfield is vaccinated. Mary Kay Cabot from Cleveland.com reported before the season that Mayfield still wore a mask in the Browns building during June minicamp, but returned without the mask after summer break.
Mayfield also spoke about the “competitive advantage” that vaccination brings to NFL teams.
“It definitely represents a competitive advantage for higher vaccine rates in your team just from close contact. [rules] And what happens if, sadly, someone does get COVID, what can happen to the rest of the building, “Mayfield said in July.
“It is a competitive advantage, but it is also much more than that,” he added. “It is about safety and only general health and well-being of human life. So I would just leave it at that. ”
So while Mayfield may be out of action on Saturday, he should have a chance to play in the Browns’ Week 15 Christmas game against the Packers. You just need to remain asymptomatic.