OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The NFL canceled the Baltimore Ravens‘ practice for Monday morning, a day before the team is scheduled to play the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Ravens are in the midst of one of the biggest coronavirus outbreaks in professional sports with at least one positive test for the past eight days. Baltimore has officially placed 18 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list in the past week and has since had three starters — tight end Mark Andrews, outside linebacker Matthew Judon and wide receiver Willie Snead IV — test positive, according to sources.
As of Monday morning, the Ravens are still deciding on when to travel to Pittsburgh, according to a source. Baltimore was originally set to take two planes, which would allow for extra social distancing, to Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning and play the Steelers at Heinz Field that night. But the Ravens could leave as early as Monday night because the Pittsburgh area is expected to get 2 to 4 inches of snow Tuesday.
The outbreak in Baltimore already has caused the Week 12 game between the Ravens and Steelers to be postponed twice.
The Ravens were about to hold their first full practice in 10 days on Monday morning before the league canceled it. The team facility has been closed since Tuesday at noon.
After the practice was canceled, All-Pro Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey tweeted: “Virtual Tuesday Night Game?”
Virtual Tuesday Night Game? https://t.co/9pVNlX0gPS
— Marlon Humphrey (@marlon_humphrey) November 30, 2020
Over that time, at least a dozen players have tested positive, including reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, starting center Patrick Mekari, fullback Patrick Ricard, defensive end Calais Campbell and outside linebackers Pernell McPhee and Judon, according to a source. None of those players will play against the Steelers.
In total, there have been at least 30 members of the Ravens organization — from players to coaches to even the team nutritionist — who have tested positive or have been identified as a high-risk close contacts since Nov. 22.
CB Stephon Gilmore doesn’t report for New England Patriots’ mandatory minicamp, source says
Gilmore could be making a statement about his contract, as he is scheduled to earn a base salary of $7 million in 2021.
The Patriots had advanced $4.5 million of Gilmore’s 2021 salary to him last year, leading to this year’s low figure.
Gilmore, who turns 31 in September, is in the final year of the five-year, $65 million pact he signed with the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent in 2017. The deal included $40 million in injury guarantees and $31 million fully guaranteed at signing.
At the time, a contract with those guarantees and an average of $13 million per season was viewed as a strong deal. The cornerback market has since exploded, with Jalen Ramsey of the Los Angeles Rams topping it with a contract averaging $20 million per season.
Acknowledging they didn’t have specifics of the situation, teammates noted Gilmore’s absence in the locker room Monday, as well as on the practice field.
“I support my brother. I wish he was here, but I support him all the same,” veteran safety Adrian Phillips said. “What he has going, whenever he gets back here, he’ll let you know how it went.”
Longtime captain Matthew Slater added: “That’s a situation I don’t want to get too far into, because it’s frankly none of my business. Obviously you support all your teammates, whether they are here or not.”
Head coach Bill Belichick deflected questions on Gilmore earlier Monday and wouldn’t reveal whether he has given him (or any player) an excused absence. Players who don’t report for mandatory minicamp can be fined up to $93,085 — which breaks down to $15,515 for the first missed day, $31,030 for the second missed day and $46,540 for the third missed day.
Gilmore partially tore his quad in a Week 15 loss last season, landing on injured reserve.
The Boston Globe first reported Gilmore’s absence.
Hamstring forces Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence out of team drills on first day of minicamp
The tightness that limited Lawrence last week in OTAs reemerged during the first day of mandatory minicamp on Monday, forcing the Jaguars to keep him out of team drills. Coach Urban Meyer said that’s likely to happen on Tuesday as well.
“Our trainers and Schotty [passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer] are being a little cautious because right now when you’re a month out, you yank a hamstring now you’re going to miss the early part of the training camp,” Meyer said. “That’s that one muscle that, you guys have all seen it like I have, you pull a hamstring at this point you’re going to miss all your summer conditioning so we’re being somewhat conservative on it.
“But he actually could play a game if he had to.”
Lawrence did some work off to the side while the rest of the team did their stretches and warm-ups, but he did participate in individual drills and 7-on-7 sessions. He did not participate in 11-on-11 drills.
Lawrence said he would rather be practicing fully, but understands the Jaguars’ approach.
“It’s been about a week and trying to work it back to full capacity and yeah, it’s a little frustrating just not being able to go full speed, but I’m feeling good,” Lawrence said. “I’m just trying to not have any more setbacks, so taking it slow. Got some good reps today. So start getting more and more each day this week and kind of work back into it.”
The Jaguars have one more day of mandatory minicamp and then break until training camp starts in late July.
Madden NFL 22 teases cover athletes with goats
The Madden NFL 22 game cover will be released later this week. The day when we see which superstar nabs the cover is another big date on the NFL’s offseason calendar.
To promote this year’s cover release, EA Sports is teasing the identity of the athlete with literal goats. Former cover athlete Peyton Hillis interacts with the animals and reacts to the cover.
The video seems to promise two GOAT (greatest of all time) athletes. Given his Super Bowl win last season and his untouchable status as the NFL’s greatest QB, it’s safe to assume that Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady will be one of the athletes featured.
But who could join him? Could it be Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, who lost to Brady in Super Bowl LV? Maybe it’s a former or current Brady collaborator. Whomever it is, the ungulate ad men in the video aren’t saying.
Who do you think will be joining Brady?
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