Baltimore Ravens president Dick Cass revealed that the team was dealing with “at least” four strains of COVID-19 this past week.
The Baltimore Ravens have stood in the center of the NFL‘s spotlight for the past week-plus, and not for the best of reasons. The organization dealt with a massive COVID-19 outbreak in the facility, forcing as many as 23 players to hit the reserve list and the NFL to reschedule their Week 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers three times. The team finally played their game, which they lost 19-14.
On Saturday, Ravens president Dick Cass revealed that the NFL informed them they dealt with “at least four unique strains” of COVID-19. Cass said that three of the four strains were stopped, but the remaining one caused the massive spread inside the team’s facility.
“From the outset, we have taken the virus seriously, very seriously,” Cass said, via the team’s official statement. “Despite our best efforts, the protocol is only as effective as our weakest link. With a dangerous virus like this, everyone must comply with the protocol to avoid infecting many. We now know that not everyone at the Ravens followed the protocol thoroughly.”
One COVID-19 strain equated to 10 days of hell for the Ravens
The “weakest link” comment by Cass is in reference to the Ravens’ strength and conditioning coach, who was disciplined internally for reportedly not wearing a face mask or his contact-tracing device at all times inside the facility and for not reporting symptoms to the team.
Baltimore had recorded at least one positive test for 10 consecutive days, and they have involved key members of the team, such as quarterback Lamar Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews. On Saturday, the Ravens activated defensive lineman Calais Campbell, running back Mark Ingram and defensive end Jihad Ward off the reserve/COVID-19 list, reducing the number of sidelined players to 10. As of this writing, Baltimore has gone four consecutive days without a positive test.
In response to the Ravens’ Week 12 game being played this past Wednesday, their Week 13 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys (originally scheduled for this past Thursday) will be played on Tuesday night. Jackson is eligible to return to the team on Sunday, but it’s unknown if he’ll play. Ingram and fellow running back J.K. Dobbins were deemed eligible to return for the Steelers game two days prior, but neither suited up for the team. Based off this, it’s unknown if head coach John Harbaugh will actually play Jackson against the Cowboys. If that’s the case, it will be Trace McSorely who gets the start, as regular backup Robert Griffin III was placed on the injured reserve with a hamstring ailment.
For the NFL to completely finish this season, they need all players, coaching staff and team personnel to cooperate with safety protocols. The Ravens serve as a warning for others as to what can happen if one individual decides to skirt the rules.