Saints Latavius Murray and Dwayne Washington, as well as full-back Michael Burton, will miss Sunday’s game in Carolina after being classified as high-risk close ties with Kamara, according to a person familiar with the situation. Running backs trainer Joel Thomas is also in quarantine as a high-risk close contact.
The Saints can use broad receiver Ty Montgomery on the run back, a position he played in the NFL, and promote Tony Jones Jr. off the training team. They also have the all-purpose player Taysom Hill, a sturdy ball carrier who usually takes on the quarterback as a trick-play alternative to Drew Brees and acts as a starter there when Brees is injured.
Kamara tested positive on Friday, a person familiar with the test result confirmed this. He will also miss Sunday’s game as the Saints continue to chase the NFC’s # 1 playoffs. Kamara is in an isolation period of at least 10 days and could pause if the Saints have to play in the opening round of the postseason.
The Browns announced Saturday morning that they had closed their facility because of a positive test result from a trainer. The team said it would work remotely while the contact tracing was in progress.
“We will consult with the league’s medics about the appropriate next steps,” the Browns said in a written statement.
It was the third time in four days that the Browns had closed their facility because of at least one new positive test result on the daily Leaguewide coronavirus tests. The team reopened their facility and held an afternoon training session on Wednesday. The Browns kept their facility closed and worked remotely all Thursday. Then they opened the facility and practiced Friday after no new positive test results.
The NFL hits its regular season finish line on Sunday and, barring other complications, will meet its goal of playing all 256 games under its original 17-week schedule. Games were postponed, particularly when the Tennessee Titans and then the Baltimore Ravens saw breakouts, but none were completely lost to cancellation.
The playoffs are imminent, and the NFL remains on track to become the first major U.S. sport to play a full and uninterrupted season since the pandemic began. The league has operated in a bubble-free environment, relying on strict and increasingly stringent protocols, while teams train in their own facilities and play in their own stadiums with empty or partially filled stands.
The San Francisco 49ers have had to move due to coronavirus-related restrictions imposed by Santa Clara County, California. They’ll be hosting a third game on Sunday in Glendale, Arizona, away from their home. But the NFL avoided adding week 18 to their schedule as it was announced if not all games could be played within the originally scheduled 17 weeks.
The Browns play at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday and can secure a place in the playoffs with a win. The NFL has held the position all week to ensure that the game is played as planned.
Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said earlier this week there was no evidence of transmission of the virus at the team’s facility. The NFL has stated throughout the season that games will only be postponed for medical reasons if a team experiences an outbreak of uncontrolled transmission of the virus and not due to competitive issues. In the Browns’ case, Sills said during the week it wouldn’t be surprising if several members of the organization had infected the virus separately outside of the team facility, given the high rate of infection in the surrounding county.
The Browns were left without two linebackers, in addition to their four missing wide-angle receivers, because of their loss to the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey, last Sunday. One player, allegedly linebacker BJ Goodson, tested positive and the other players were not qualified for the game after being classified as close high-risk contacts and placed in quarantine for five days. The Browns activated the four wide-angle receivers, including Jarvis Landry, from their Covid-19 reserve list on Thursday and could be in better shape in competition that Sunday than against the Jets.
The dolphins, like the saints, cannot say the same thing about improving their competitive position.
According to someone familiar with the result, Fitzpatrick tested positive on Thursday and will miss the Dolphins’ game in Buffalo on Sunday if they try to secure a spot in the playoffs.