The Cleveland Browns are currently being leveled by COVID-19 as a total of 20 players have tested positive this week, which puts their status for Saturday’s matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders in question. The latest group to land the COVID-19 list includes quarterback Case Keenum, who joins Baker Mayfield after he was sidelined earlier this week due to a positive test. That means third-stringer Nick Mullens is currently in line to start for the Browns in Week 15.
As this outbreak continues to hit the organization, Mayfield took to social media to relay his discontent with how the NFL has handled the situation. Mayfield questioned the league’s stance on player safety as he said: “Actually caring about player safety would mean delaying the game with this continuing at the rate it is. … but to say you won’t test vaccinated players if they don’t have symptoms, then to pull this randomly. Doesn’t make any sense to me.”
At this point, the NFL has shown no indication that rescheduling or cancelling Saturday’s game is on the table.
Mayfield did not elaborate on what his “making only 3 teams test” comment specifically meant. He went on to say that the Browns were not tested on Thursday morning and were able to gather for practice, but were then tested following the session.
That decision to test could be linked to a report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. He reported on Thursday that teams that are currently in advanced protocols tried to not test asymptomatic, vaccinated players. The NFLPA then got involved and the teams/NFL backed down and conducted the tests. Meanwhile, Browns center J.C. Tretter is the current president of the NFLPA.
Mayfield’s comments also come after the NFL and NFLPA released a memo updating its COVID-19 protocols. Under these new protocols, individuals do have an opportunity to return from quarantine quicker so long as they remain asymptomatic. Because individuals can now return as soon as the day after the initial positive test, head coach Kevin Stefanski would not rule out any player who recently tested positive, which does include Mayfield.