The NFL COVID-19 protocols are specific, and stringent. And for good reason. The players, coaches and personnel wearing contact tracers every time they are in the facility helps the medical staff for the league determine who might be high risk contacts to contract the coronavirus.
This is exactly how the league can assume who has a good chance of contracting the virus, and who is in the clear.
There is no need to dive in to the logistics behind what drives these systems, but it is worth noting after it was reported the Baltimore Ravens had two more positive tests, one staffer and one backup player, return before their flight left the ground for Pittsburgh, PA.
This is according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:
Baltimore’s team flight is leaving, game is still on, but the Ravens did have two more positive tests today, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 2, 2020
It is thought to be one player, one staff, and in the words of one source “not unexpected and not a concern for the game.”
Albert Breer, of Monday Morning QB, gave some details on how the league was notified of the positives before they departed Baltimore, and gave them the green light to travel.
The Ravens indeed had a staffer (not a coach) and a backup player test positive today. Again, they were cleared by the NFL to travel to Pittsburgh. https://t.co/aZHJsZ3gSa— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 2, 2020
It isn’t clear who tested positive, but if the NFL expected them, or knew in advance, to be positive they could have utilized their tools to know whether or not they would need to tell the plane to stay grounded and potentially delay the game again.
At this point, it is obvious the players, and especially the fans, just want to get the game over with. At this point the Steelers have been preparing for the Ravens, albeit a different roster than they are accustomed to, for the past 10 days. If the league were to delay it again, not only would it throw a major wrench in the schedule, but would continue to cause more issues with players going on, and coming off the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
Baltimore is probably on the ground in Pittsburgh already, and you can expect any news and notes surrounding this game to be right here at BTSC.
For those wondering how this could possibly happen, it turns out the staffer had been isolated, and the player did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh.
And to be clear, the #Ravens’ player and staffer who tested positive did not travel. No high-risk close contacts were identified, despite the player being at walkthrough, sources say. The team maintained distance at said walkthrough. All players and staff will be tested tomorrow.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 2, 2020