Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield was placed on the team’s Covid-19 reserved list as the NFL continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayfield was placed on the list following a team staff member testing positive for the virus, the Browns announced Sunday. The team didn’t identify what staff member tested positive but said that contact tracing had been conducted and that close contacts have been placed in self-isolation.
The Browns are the latest to be hit with virus concerns, the news coming after both the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears were forced to close their facilities out of caution. Jacob Martin, a linebacker with the Texans, tested positive and isolated as the team conducted operations virtually, the Texans said in a statement Thursday.
The Bears also closed operations temporarily on Thursday following new positive cases on the team, the team said at the time. Offensive lineman Cody Whitehair tested positive, days after fellow lineman Jason Spriggs tested positive and the team’s guard, Germain Ifedi, was listed as a close contact.
The team has placed five players on its Covid-19 reserve list this week as the Bears are set to face off against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon. Lineman Lachavious Simmons also tested positive and was placed in isolation, NBC Chicago reported. Safety Deon Bush will sit out against the Titans, as he was placed on the reserve list Saturday.
The NFL, which has been riddled with cases since the season started in September, has begun to crack down on teams that violate its Covid-19 protocols. The league fined the Pittsburgh Steelers after coach Mike Tomlin and members of his staff were found to have not always worn masks during the team’s most recent game, the league’s network said Friday.
The Steelers were fined $250,000 for the violation, which follows a $500,000 fine against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders also lost a sixth-round draft pick for Covid-19 protocol violations and are appealing the sanction, the NFL Network reported.
Coronavirus cases have continued to surge in the United States, with record-setting numbers in recent days. A total of 120,048 people tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, nearly 16,000 more than on Wednesday, and marking the highest single-day case count.