The Ravens were hit with the news that All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey tested positive for COVID-19 Monday morning. Humphrey announced the news on his Twitter account.
Coach John Harbaugh was told of the positive test early in the morning as he and the Ravens will have to work through not only Humphrey’s positive test, but what his positive test could mean for the rest of the team and the league.
The Ravens met virtually Monday to recap Sunday’s loss to the Steelers and begin preparations for the Colts game Sunday in Indianapolis.
After Humphrey’s positive test, the Ravens immediately went into the “intensive” protocols the league put in place. Those include virtual meetings and contact tracing to figure out who might have been exposed to COVID-19. In the past, results have taken a few days to be totally realized by various NFL teams with outbreaks.
“Pretty optimistic about that at this point, but you never know,” Harbaugh said at his weekly Monday press conference. “It’s 2020. So we’ll take it as we find it. But I will say the way we’ve kind of gone through this is that we’ve done our absolute best to adhere to every protocol and we try to keep our focus not on that, our focus on doing the protocols and focus on the responsibility which is to get ready to play the game.”
Humphrey missed practice last Wednesday due to an illness, but returned and was a full participant in both Thursday and Friday practice. Harbaugh said he tested negative the entire time.
Humphrey’s positive test Monday could mean he played in Sunday’s game against the Steelers while positive for COVID-19. The Steelers released a statement that no player on the team had tested positive yet.
As of now, the plan for the Ravens is to play Sunday, though the league could be in a difficult spot if there’s an outbreak in Pittsburgh or Baltimore. Both teams have already had their bye weeks. Additionally, the Colts — the Ravens’ next opponent — is scheduled to play the Titans on the following Thursday in what may end up turning into further scheduling gymnastics by the league. Humphrey, clearly, won't play in Sunday's game against the Colts.
“The protocols are in place, the league, that’s all defined in terms of how many days in terms of what they consider to be close contacts and those kind of things,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a five-day window for close contacts to test positive twice. We don’t know who the close contacts are at this point, we’re going through that right now, we’ve got a lot of technology to determine that, certainly. Marlon is on a 10-day window. We’ll have to deal with that like an injury.”
According to the NFL, if a player tests positive and is symptomatic, there will be no return unless and until: At least 10 days have passed since first COVID symptoms appeared, at least 72 hours have passed since symptoms last occurred, the return must be approved by the club physician after consultation with ICS and NFL Chief Medical Officer and local regulations and requirements are satisfied.
If a player is asymptomatic, there will be no return unless and until: 10 days have passed since initial test, or five days have passed since initial test and two consecutive negative PCR virus tests separated by 24 hours and the return is approved by the club physician after consultation with ICS and NFL Chief Medical Officer.
It is unclear right now if Humphrey is symptomatic or asymptomatic.
Harbaugh did defend his team and said players on the roster have been up-to-code with COVID-19 protocols and have gone home from the facility and then back to work — including Humphrey.
“I think the thing we understand is that this can happen to any of us,” Harbaugh said. “Any of us can be in a situation where you can be exposed to it. Even the doctors tell us that you can have a husband, wife, father, sibling, child, whatever, someone that you live with can get it or not get it. It has to do with immune system and all those other kind of things. I don’t think we want to be accusatory in any way. If we had some guys acting irresponsibly we’d be all over that, absolutely. We haven’t found that at all.”