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Baker Mayfield latest player to lay into NFL over COVID-19 policy

Vincent Frank
Baker mayfield
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Enigmatic Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will not play Saturday against the Las Vegas Raiders after he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the week.

Mayfield is one of 20 Browns players currently on the list after a widespead breakout of the virus within the locker room. He’s joined by backup quarterback Case Keenum, meaning Nick Mullens will get the start for a team that still has playoff expections.

A short while after teammate Myles Garrett took the NFL to task over its COVID-19 testing policy, Baker Mayfield opted to tweet through his outrage. He did not hold back.

“@NFL Make up your damn mind on protocols. Showing up and making only 3 teams test?!? All so you can keep the game as scheduled to make money,” Mayfield wrote in a series of tweets. “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.”

Mayfield then took a bit of time to calm down before coming back at the NFL with another message.

“Tell me if this makes sense…. No tests this morning… then let our team gather for practice… then show up after practice to test them. Something seems off here.”

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Someone just isn’t a happy camper. And in reality, it’s hard to blame Mayfield. The Browns are now down nine starters for a must-win game against the Raiders. They will be playing Mullens under center mere hours after calling him up from the practice squad.

“I really don’t know how we’re being asked to play this game Saturday. (Derek) Carr might eat us alive,” a Browns source told NFL insider Josina Anderson recently.

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NFL changes protocols amid criticism from Baker Mayfield, others

Baker Mayfield
Dec 12, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates after the Browns beat the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

As all of this was going down on social media, the league released a statement indicating policy changes as it relates to COVID-19.

​”Throughout the pandemic we have continuously evolved our protocols to meet our goal of advancing the safety of the players, coaches and staff. The changes we are making today aim to address the increase in cases and the advent of the Omicron variant. Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel,” the NFL said in a statement.

“We will continue to strongly encourage booster shots as the most effective protection. Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19. All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach, with safety our number-one goal for the entire NFL community.”

Under these new guidelines, fully-vaccinated players will be able to return from quarantine earlier after just one negative test. This provision takes into account only vaccinated players who are asymptomatic. It remains to be seen if this will help Baker Mayfield and the Browns before their game against Las Vegas over the weekend.

All of this comes with north of 90 players being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list over the past three days. It also comes with a new COVID-19 variant spreading throughout the United States — one that can be contracted easier but also comes with milder symptoms.