A recent spike in COVID-19 activity within the Baltimore Ravens organization has led to another major development.
Star quarterback Lamar Jackson has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and will not play on Sunday against the Steelers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, per sources informed of the situation.
Rapoport added that veteran QB Robert Griffin III, whose last start came against Pittsburgh in a successful Week 17 outing last season, is slated to take over in Jackson's place.
The news of the reigning MVP's positive test deals a huge blow to the club as it continues to see more players and staff members either test positive or deemed as close contacts.
Jackson was one of four Ravens players to test positive for COVID-19 on Thanksgiving, per Rapoport. The NFL is awaiting contact tracing on the positive tests from Thursday's batch, marking the latest issue with the virus for Baltimore.
"We just want to contain this outbreak!" defensive end Calais Campbell tweeted Friday morning. "Speaking from experience...you don't want to catch covid! This virus is brutal! I pray no one else has to go thru this. This is bigger than football."
The week began with the news that running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list, along with nose tackle Brandon Williams. In the days that followed, six more players -- including Campbell -- and several staff members were added, prompting Baltimore's highly anticipated Thanksgiving clash against the Steelers to be postponed to Sunday at 1:15 p.m. ET.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Thursday that the NFL will continue to monitor developments, but as of now, there's no change to the status of the rescheduled Week 12 matchup. Pelissero also noted that QB Trace McSorley was added to the list last week, leaving Griffin and practice-squad rookie Tyler Huntley as the only healthy options under center.
For offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the challenge of toppling the undefeated Steelers without his star in the midst of a trying month will be even more difficult. Griffin is capable of executing plays in a similar style, but there's obviously no replacing the burst, athleticism and dynamic playmaking ability Jackson brings.
To date, Baltimore has placed 10 players (eight starters) on the reserve/COVID-19 list: Jackson, Ingram, Dobbins, Williams, Campbell, McSorley, DE Jihad Ward, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, and offensive linemen Matt Skura and Patrick Mekari. The team also announced Wednesday that a staff member had been disciplined for conduct related to the recent COVID-19 cases.