By Amy Tennery
(Reuters) – The National Football League (NFL) once again delayed a game between the Baltimore Ravens and the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers, pushing it from Tuesday to Wednesday, as the league grapples with COVID-19 positive tests.
The game between the two divisional rivals was originally set for the NFL’s coveted Thanksgiving Day primetime slot but was delayed – first to Sunday and then to Tuesday – as several Ravens players were placed on their reserve/COVID list.
The game will now be played at 3:40 pm ET on Wednesday, the league said, forcing delays for two Week 13 games between the Steelers and the Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys and Ravens.
“These decisions were made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts,” the NFL said.
A dozen players and eight staff members of the Baltimore team had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday, CBS Sports reported, including reigning league MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“As we continue to follow the advice of the NFL’s health experts, as well as the Ravens’ medical professionals, we are preparing for our game against the Steelers,” the Ravens said Monday, adding that they held a “safely distanced walk-through/conditioning session” at the team’s practice facility.
The Ravens said last week that they had disciplined a staff member for conduct related to the outbreak.
The NFL is working to keep its season on track to culminate with the Super Bowl in February, as the ongoing pandemic sidelines players and forced the San Francisco 49ers from their home stadium to avoid running afoul of new local regulations banning contact sports in Santa Clara County.
Denver Broncos practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton was given less than 24 hours notice to suit up and play quarterback against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, after all four of his team’s quarterbacks were ruled ineligible to play due to COVID-19 exposure.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Christian Radnedge)