The Browns had hoped the NFL’s decision to postpone the game from Saturday until Monday would allow players to return. The time span was not long enough for Baker Mayfield to show a negative COVID-19 test result. As reported by the AP:
The Browns were blasted by a slew of positive tests last week, when coach Kevin Stefanski, Mayfield and Case Keenum, were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list
CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield did not clear COVID-19 testing in time to be activated and play Monday, so third-stringer Nick Mullens will start in a critical game against the Las Vegas Raiders, a person familiar with the situation told The AP.
The Browns had hoped the NFL’s decision to postpone the game from Saturday until Monday would allow players to return. But Mayfield didn’t produce a required negative test, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team doesn’t have to reveal its eligible players until later in the day.
Mayfield had missed only one game this season despite a variety of injuries. He’ll now have to sit out as the Browns (7-6) try to stay in the thick of a tight playoff race. A win over the Raiders would put Cleveland in first place in the AFC North.
On Sunday, Mayfield posted on Instagram that he was asymptomatic and was “praying to test negative for COVID.”
The Browns were blasted by a slew of positive tests last week, when coach Kevin Stefanski, Mayfield and his backup, Case Keenum, and at least 11 more starters were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.
Stefanski remains sidelined along with two assistant coaches.
The Browns got back powerful right guard Wyatt Teller on Sunday — he was one of three starting linemen out — and safety John Johnson III was activated Monday from the COVID-19 list and will help Cleveland’s thinned secondary.
Mullens will be making his first start since last season for San Francisco. The 26-year-old went 5-11 in 16 starts for the 49ers from 2018-2020.
On Friday, the NFL bent after being determined to push forward and play by postponing Cleveland’s game against Las Vegas along with two other games amid a wave of new COVID-19 cases across the league.
The league adjusted the deadline for roster activation from Sunday at 4 p.m. until Monday at 2 p.m., giving players more time to produce a negative test — another change after requiring two negatives tests 24 hours apart.
By TOM WITHERS