Browns COVID-19 outbreak: Nick Mullens in line to start vs. Raiders as Case Keenum tests positive


Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The COVID-19 outbreak within the Cleveland Browns organization doesn’t appear to be dying down and continues to hit key positions across the roster. According to CBS Sports NFL insider Josina Anderson, the Browns have placed quarterback Case Keenum on the reserve/COVID-19 list after he produced a positive test. Keenum joins Baker Mayfield — who tested positive earlier this week — on the reserve list and now has Nick Mullens in line to start in Saturday’s contest against the Raiders. 

On top of Keenum testing positive, Anderson reports that four defensive players — safety Grant Delpit, corner A.J. Green, safety Ronnie Harrison and linebacker Jacob Phillips — have also tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total of Browns players with it this week to 20. 

Despite this outbreak across Cleveland’s roster, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network notes that there is still no indication from the league that Saturday’s matchup against Las Vegas will be moved or canceled and it would require many more positive tests for it to get to that point. That report echoes what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday as there has been no discussion regarding rescheduling. The NFLPA is pushing hard to have the game postponned.

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“I really don’t know how we’re being asked to play this game Saturday. (Derek) Carr might eat us alive,” a Browns source told Anderson.

This news surrounding the latest round of positive tests with the Browns comes after the NFL and NFLPA released a memo to the league updating its COVID-19 protocols. Under these new protocols, individuals do have an opportunity to return from quarantine quicker so long as they remain asymptomatic. The updated “testing out” policy that the league has in place now allows for individuals to return as soon as the day after the initial positive test, which does leave the door open for Mayfield and/or Keenum to still suit up in Week 15. That is something head coach Kevin Stefanski noted on Thursday and why he would not rule out any of his players who recently tested positive.  

If neither quarterback can return, Mullens would be gearing up for the 17th start of his career. He’s 5-11 in his previous 16 starts and has a career completion percentage of 64.5 and averages 248.1 passing yards per game. He also has 25 career passing touchdowns to 22 interceptions. His last start came back in Week 15 of last season for the 49ers where he threw for 219 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in a 41-33 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. 



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