Multiple reports surfaced Wednesday afternoon that suggest the NFL plans to revisit its COVID-19 guidelines after 25 players were added to the reserve list in a single day.
The Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns have added players to the COVID-19 reserve list in double digit figures within the last week, and LA is currently sitting at 16 total players on the list as of Wednesday afternoon. Kevin Stefanski, head coach of the Browns, also tested positive for the virus this week.
Browns, Texans, Rams, Giants and Washington accounting for the majority of the 25 names added to the COVID-19 list league-wide today. https://t.co/cNt9n79bvT— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 15, 2021
With the NFL regular season nearing a close, each individual contest carries more weight in terms of playoff ramifications - this is especially true for the Rams as they host a division rival, the Seattle Seahawks, on Sunday. If Los Angeles is unable to field a competitive team with the state of its roster, the NFL may be forced to reschedule the game or change how the COVID reserve list operates.
Judy Battista of NFL.com and NFL Network reported that the league is exploring options with the NFL Players Association as well as its capacity to act in a unilateral manner in order to combat the significant number of new positive tests. The goal of potential changes would be to reduce the time frame of a return for a vaccinated, asymptomatic individual that has tested positive for the virus.
NFL is talking to the union about changing protocols, but is also looking at what it can do unilaterally as COVID cases rise. Masks, zoom meetings and, according to a league source, shortening the time frame for return for a vaccinated, asymptomatic player who tests positive.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) December 15, 2021
Per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, informed teams today “that the league believes the uptick in cases is a result of the Omicron variant’s emergence.” Sills also noted that Omicron “generally has had milder symptoms but is more contagious”, which would explain why a number of the players who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 seem to be asymptomatic.
NFL CMO Dr. Allen Sills told teams today that the league believes the uptick in cases is a result of the Omicron variant’s emergence. Omicron, he told the teams, generally has had milder symptoms but is more contagious.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 15, 2021
Dynamic is changing.
2/3s of the latest positive cases in the NFL involve no symptoms. The rest of the cases are "mild," per Sills— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) December 15, 2021
The last few days have been especially challenging for the NFL, and the dynamic appears to be changing at an incredibly rapid pace - even for teams like LA that have done an exemplary job mitigating the effects of the virus until this point. Check Turf Show Times for updates ahead of the Rams’ matchup with the Seahawks on Sunday, and follow us on your preferred social media platforms for regular updates.