LOS ANGELES — Editor's note: This story was original published Friday morning, highlighting the NFL's lack of intention to reschedule NFL games involving teams with serious COVID-19 outbreaks. Friday afternoon, the NFL announced Saturday's game between the Raiders and Browns would be moved to Monday and Sunday's Washington-Eagles and Rams-Seahawks games would be moved back to Tuesday.
Original story below:
It's been the story for all major U.S. sports leagues all week as COVID-19 has run rampant through many teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and college basketball, causing some NBA, NHL and college basketball postponements.
But, the NFL has yet to postpone any games or show any serious consideration in postponements despite some teams, including the Rams, Browns and Washington Football Team, now with over 20 players on the COVID-19 list.
The Rams themselves, after a huge win in Arizona on Monday night, now have 25 players on the COVID-19 list before they take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. All players that have tested positive for L.A. are vaccinated, according to head coach Sean McVay.
On Friday's Locked On Today podcast, host Peter Bukowski welcomed on Locked On Rams host Sosa Kremenjas to talk about how COVID-19 is affecting the Rams and whether the NFL should seriously be considering rescheduling games.
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While the NFL hasn't produced much speculation that games this weekend could be rescheduled, Kremenjas says some games, including the Rams-Seahawks on Sunday, have to be being looked at for a possible reschedule if more players continue to test positive.
"According to the NFL it doesn't seem like it's likely, but in my opinion I think it has to be at least 50% right now," Kremenjas said on Locked On Today. "It feels like the majority of this matchup, the Rams and Seahawks, it feels like the majority of it is felt on one side, which is of course the Rams side with 25 players. But now it's starting to affect the Seahawks side as well...I'm kind of stepping back to see how this is going to unfold, I think right now it's unfair really to to play this game but at the same time, the NFL is going to do everything in their power to not reschedule this game."
The NFL did announce alterations to COVID-19 protocols this week, allowing players to play if they have one negative test now or if they test negative the day of the game. But do these protocols do enough?
"I think it's a step in the right direction...There's only one player on the Rams right now who is not vaccinated and according to head coach Sean McVay, every single player that tested positive prior to Thursday was vaccinated," Kremenjas said. "So every one of these guys does have a chance to make this protocol and eventually get back into this contest. Of course, I'm sure a majority of them probably still won't be able to make it."
As part of its protocol changes, the NFL is requiring masks regardless of vaccination status, and remote or outdoor meetings. It also is stopping in-person meals, and prohibiting outside visitors while on team travel.
Apart from the Rams, the Browns and Washington are the two other teams dealing with serious COVID-19 affects as both teams may be forced to start third-string quarterbacks this weekend as they both have over 20 players on the COVID-19 list as of Friday morning.
The Washington Football Team signed Garrett Gilbert off the New England Patriots' practice squad Friday and he is now a candidate to start against the Eagles on Sunday.
According to a Washington Post report, the NFL Players Association believes that “rescheduling games should be an option” related to “any teams with major outbreaks."
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