Browns' Baker Mayfield Slams NFL over COVID-19 Protocols: 'Make Up Your Damn Mind'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 16, 2021

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield stands on the sideline during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Cleveland. The Browns won 24-22. (AP Photo/David Richard)
AP Photo/David Richard

As the Cleveland Browns' game against the Las Vegas Raiders scheduled for Saturday approaches, quarterback Baker Mayfield wants the NFL to "make up your damn mind on protocols."

Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reported quarterback Case Keenum was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, which is all the more notable because Mayfield was already among the many Browns already on the list.

The starter suggested the game has not been postponed to this point so the NFL can "make money" while not prioritizing player safety:

Baker Mayfield @bakermayfield

Actually caring about player safety would mean delaying the game with this continuing at the rate it is….<br>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 continued, saying: "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." 

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported a league official suggested there will need to be "many more positives" for the game to be moved or canceled.

As of Thursday, the following players on the Browns were in the COVID-19 protocols:

  • QB Baker Mayfield
  • QB Case Keenum
  • S John Johnson III
  • CB Troy Hill
  • DT Malik McDowell
  • DE Ifeadi Odenigbo
  • OG Drew Forbes
  • TE Austin Hooper
  • WR Jarvis Landry
  • DE Takkarist McKinley
  • OG Wyatt Teller
  • OT Jedrick Wills Jr.
  • WR JoJo Natson
  • TE Ross Travis
  • S Nate Meadors
  • S Ronnie Harrison

The team also announced head coach Kevin Stefanski and running backs coach Ryan Cordell tested positive for COVID-19.

Mayfield calling for the league to make up its mind on protocols comes as the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to updated health and safety protocols Thursday. The league announced every team "will implement preventative measures that have proven effective," which include masks regardless of vaccination status, no in-person meals and no outside visitors for traveling teams.

What's more, fully vaccinated individuals who test positive are then tested every day until they have two negative tests 24 hours apart and are asymptomatic.           

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to updated COVID protocols. Statement from the league: <a href="https://t.co/PyIYspmcTh">pic.twitter.com/PyIYspmcTh</a>

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Here are the details from that memo on vaccinated players coming back from positive tests. It’s complicated, so I’ll give you all the language, for the 3 of you that are interested. <a href="https://t.co/cZwaLRUBcL">pic.twitter.com/cZwaLRUBcL</a>

In terms of actual football, Saturday's game is an important one in the AFC wild-card race.

Cleveland is one of five 7-6 teams in the AFC battling for positioning, while the 6-7 Raiders will remain a factor if they can pick up an important head-to-head win against a fellow contender.