Ravens cancel practice amid coronavirus outbreak, just 2 days before rematch vs. Steelers

The Baltimore Sun (TNS)
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram (21) arranges his helmet before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Baltimore Ravens canceled practice Tuesday and announced that they would hold all meetings remotely amid a coronavirus outbreak, just two days before they’re set to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A day after the Ravens placed running backs Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins on the reserve/COVID-19 list with positive tests and defensive tackle Brandon Williams as a “high-risk” close contact, the team is dealing with further uncertainty. According to media reports, the Ravens learned of more positive tests Tuesday.

An NFL spokesman, Brian McCarthy, said Thursday’s game is still on as scheduled.

“We will continue to monitor developments in consultation with our medical experts,” McCarthy wrote in an email. “Our foremost concern is the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel. There’s no change to the status of the game.”

The Ravens closed their facility Monday after learning Ingram and Dobbins had tested positive. After completing contact tracing, the team reopened the Under Armour Performance Center later that afternoon and held a masked walk-through. The Ravens were scheduled to practice Tuesday, their last full day in Maryland before traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the undefeated Steelers in a rematch of a Week 8 loss.

“With the health and safety of players and staff remaining the highest priority, the Baltimore Ravens have determined that all further team activities will be conducted virtually today,” the team said in a statement late Tuesday morning.

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said earlier this month that a postponement is only possible when league officials “can’t find a common thread, can’t find a linkage and are having difficulty or an unusually large number of high-risk contacts.” Throughout the season, Ravens players have talked about how important staying safe and following NFL protocols would be to their season.

“We all knew that us playing football would put us at a bigger risk,” outside linebacker Matthew Judon said Monday. “We knew we [could] obviously get the virus, and we all knew that this wasn’t something to be played around with.”