The Browns are down another quarterback.
Case Keenum, who was on track to start in place of Baker Mayfield for Saturday’s game against the Raiders, will instead join his fellow QB on the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported.
That leaves Nick Mullens as the only QB left on Cleveland’s active roster. Mullens was elevated from the practice squad earlier Thursday. Mayfield’s availability changed Wednesday after he tested positive. Excluding Keenum, the Browns have 16 players on the COVID list. Head coach Kevin Stefanski and running backs coach Ryan Cordell are also currently unavailable because of COVID.
Despite the absences, there is still no indication from the league that the Browns’ Week 15 showdown with the Raiders will be postponed, Garafolo reported. The NFL on Thursday announced updated protocols, which include fully vaccinated players being permitted to return from quarantine a day after testing positive so long as they produce two negative tests within 24 hours and are asymptomatic.
On Thursday afternoon, Mayfield voiced his displeasure with the league’s handling of its COVID-19 protocols:
“@NFL Make up your damn mind on protocols. Showing up and making only 3 teams test?!? All so you can keep the game as scheduled to make money,” Mayfield wrote on Twitter, referring to the daily testing required for teams in enhanced COVID protocol.
Mayfield then questioned playing the game this Saturday and why his team was tested following Thursday’s practice.
“Actually caring about player safety would mean delaying the game with this continuing at the rate it is….But to say you won’t test vaccinated players if they don’t have symptoms, then to pull this randomly. Doesn’t make any sense to me,” Mayfield wrote. “Tell me if this makes sense…. No tests this morning… then let our team gather for practice… then show up after practice to test them. Something seems off here.”
Should Mayfield and Keenum officially be ruled out, Mullens has a fair amount of starting experience. He logged 16 starts with the 49ers over the past three seasons, including eight last year. His 4,405 passing yards in those games is the third-highest total by any QB in his first 16 career starts, trailing Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.
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