Ravens news: Mark Andrews tests positive for COVID-19, outbreak worsens

By Matt Johnson
Nov 22, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) makes a third quarter touchdown catch defended by Tennessee Titans defensive back Amani Hooker (37) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens news: Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the team’s latest player to land on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

It is just the latest new case in a widespread outbreak for the Ravens, that has twice forced the NFL to postpone the team’s Week 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL Week 12: Schedule and game-by-game predictions

Update: Nov. 29, 6:10 PM EST

Ravens news: Willie Snead tests positive for COVID-19

Baltimore’s COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold, with another new case of the virus coming on Sunday night.

According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, wide receiver Willie Snead tested positive for the coronavirus. He becomes Baltimore’s seventh projected starter to contract COVID-19 and this is the eighth straight day the team has reported a new case.

The NFL reportedly expected the Ravens would be at their end of the incubation period for the virus, with the healthy players expected to train together on Sunday night. However, this latest development now means Baltimore will be without 23 total players.

Despite it all, it seems inevitable that the Ravens and Steelers will play on Tuesday night.

Ravens news: Mark Andrews tests positive for COVID-19

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Andrews tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday. The 25-year-old tight end is a Type 1 diabetic, putting him in the at-risk group for health complications from the virus.

A third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Andrews has become one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He earned a Pro Bowl selection last season, hauling in 64 receptions for 852 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

Baltimore’s offense has struggled this year, but Andrews remains a go-to target for Lamar Jackson. The 6-foot-5 tight end leads the team in targets (60), receptions (38), receiving yards (454), first downs (26) and touchdowns (six).

While tight end was once of this team’s greatest strengths, a lot has changed since 2019. Baltimore traded Hayden Hurst in the offseason. The Ravens lost Nick Boyle, one of the best blockers at his position, to a season-ending knee injury in Week 10.

With Andrews and Boyle both sidelined, the Ravens don’t have a tight end on their active roster. Within the next 48 hours, the club will likely promote Sean Culkin or Eric Tomlinson off the practice squad.

Unfortunately, the team has far bigger problems than the absence of its top tight end.

Ravens news: 22 players on Reserve/COVID-19 list

Andrews isn’t the only player who tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday. Edge rusher Matthew Judon, one of the team’s best defensive players, also tested positive and is headed to the reserve list.

Problems started on Thursday for the Ravens. A strength and conditioning coach, who reportedly wasn’t following the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, tested positive for the coronavirus. He failed to disclose symptoms and didn’t wear a mask, sparking the start of an outbreak.

After playing the Titans on Sunday afternoon in Week 11, the Ravens learned running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram tested positive for the coronavirus. However, with the team scheduled to play on Thanksgiving Day, the NFL allowed the Ravens to hold practices in masks.

The virus quickly spread after that. On Tuesday, the Ravens learned defensive lineman Calais Campbell and centers Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura tested positive for COVID-19.

With Baltimore’s cases spiking, the NFL finally rescheduled the Steelers and Ravens game on Wednesday. A day later, it was revealed Lamar Jackson also contracted the virus and would miss at least 10 days.

Ravens news: Team bans fans due to rising COVID-19 numbers

Things only worsened as the week unfolded. By Saturday night, 11 players and 10 staffers with the Ravens tested positive for COVID-19. On top of that, 10 more players were deemed “high-risk” close contacts, which requires them to quarantine for five days.

As of now, the Ravens have 22 players on their Reserve/COVID-19 list. In an outbreak similar to the one the Tennessee Titans had earlier this season, Baltimore is set to be without 13 starters for its scheduled Week 12 game against the Steelers.

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Will the Steelers and Ravens play this week?

The Ravens aren’t the only team dealing with a potential outbreak. Pittsburgh’s starting running back James Conner tested positive on Saturday, joining defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs, Stephon Tuitt and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

Despite the alarming numbers, according to ESPN, Tuesday night’s game between the Steelers and Ravens is still on. Baltimore has had at least one positive test in seven consecutive days and hasn’t practiced since Tuesday, but the NFL is determined to play this game.

It’s possible things could change on Monday, if more players test positive for COVID-19. However, the NFL is doing everything it can to avoid moving this game to a created Week 18.