The Ravens-Steelers game could get postponed again, but it won't be because Lamar Jackson tested positive, ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler explained on Get Up.
Though the NFL's 2019 unanimous MVP tested positive for coronavirus according to reports Thursday - along with nine other players this week, the prospect of the undefeated Steelers holding a competitive advantage will reportedly have no impact on whether the game is postponed a second time.
"There is no change in the status of the Baltimore-Pittsburgh game. As of right now this minute, the game is still on," Fowler told Mike Greenberg. "Now, they are working through and monitoring the situation. I checked with the Ravens, they are loosely prepared to travel.
So, it's not looking great, but the league is trying to determine right now whether this positive testing rash will subside this weekend because that's five straight days Ravens players have had at least one positive test. So they need some good news in a hurry here, but they don't want to move the game unless they absolutely have to."
If a player tests positive in the NFL and are asymptomatic, they can return to play after producing two negative tests five days apart from their initial positive test. Whether Jackson contracted the virus from offensive lineman like Patrick Mekari or his running backs Mark Ingram or J.K. Dobbins, or even the strength and conditioning coach who the team suspended, remains unclear.
"This is the problem that the NFL is facing right now is that these guys could've contracted this six or seven days ago and the team is still getting positives," Fowler said.
Even without Jackson's services, postponing this contest again could create scheduling headaches around Baltimore's next game. The Ravens-Steelers game could get moved back a few days if testing does not improve by Saturday, but having Dallas on the schedule for Thursday, Dec. 3 makes that a challenging situation, Fowler said.
Whatever happens, the NFL will decide if the game is played solely based on the safety of their players and coaching staffs.
"Yeah, Greeny personnel is sort of irrelevant here," Fowler said. "Whether Lamar Jackson is out and three of his backups are, if they have the number of guys on the COVID reserve list, they've built in added practice squad players as reinforcements you can bring in. It's really simply about: Is this game medically safe to play? If it is, the league is going to power through like it has all year."