The Baltimore Ravens experienced the largest Covid-19 outbreak in the NFL to date earlier this season during the week of Thanksgiving, with some two dozen-plus players ultimately being placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 List. The majority of them were announced as having tested positive.
Almost all of them missed their next game, which was postponed for six days. Several of them missed two games, including all four who tested positive within 10 days of the second game who were not on the Reserve/Injured List (and thus would not have played anyway, or have even been eligible to play in the game).
So the announcement yesterday that they placed three of their most important wide receivers on the Reserve/Covid-19 List—just after getting Dez Bryant back from the list—certainly raised a few eyebrows. But Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced that all of them were being placed on the list as close contacts, not as positive cases.
The three wide receivers—Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, and rookie James Proche—likely were in contact with a member of the coaching staff or other staff member in the organization who tested positive, though there has been no confirmation as to who that was.
“It’s contact tracing, so we don’t have any positive tests with those guys. Hopefully we won’t”, Harbaugh said yesterday. “I think you see it all around the league, guys are put on that list for that reason. There’s a lot that out there right now. They won’t be able to practice for a few days, which is disappointing, but it is reality, what we’re dealing with this year, so we’ll just have to deal with it. We’re hoping and praying that they don’t turn out to have it.
Coach Harbaugh on COVID list additions: pic.twitter.com/C3xHgcyF04
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 16, 2020
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had their share of Reserve/Covid-19 List transactions as well. A month ago, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Jaylen Samuels, offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, and linebacker Vince Williams were all placed on the list as close contacts of tight end Vance McDonald, who tested positive.
Defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs was also a close contact, and was activated just three days after being placed on the list. Hawkins would later seemingly test positive himself, as have running back James Conner, center Maurkice Pouncey, defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt, and currently, Williams.
In all, the Steelers have had two players first go on the list as a close contact, and then later, pretty much unquestionably due to an entirely separate incident, later test positive and be placed on the list for a second time.
As for the Ravens, they have had at least one or two players who were first placed on reserve as a close contact and would later test positive while on there. I know that was at least the case for quarterback Trace McSorley, but possibly another one or two players as well.