The Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns are set to kick off Monday at 5 p.m. ET after the game was pushed back from Saturday, but it will reportedly be Nick Mullens under center as opposed to Baker Mayfield or Case Keenum. The NFL is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that forced it to update its protocols to allow vaccinated players a speedier return. Even with the changes, NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reports that Mayfield and Keenum failed to test out of protocols, so they will be inactive.
According to the new protocols, vaccinated players who test positive for the coronavirus can now return to the field if they register two PCR tests that are either negative or have a CT (cycle threshold) of 35 or greater. Or, one PCR test that is either negative or has a CT value of 35 or greater, and negative Mesa test taken with 24 hours of the PCR test. Players can also return to the field if they register two negative Mesa tests.
The hope was that the new protocols would allow for Mayfield or Keenum to return to the lineup, but that didn’t happen. Mullens’ last start came for the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15 last season. The 26-year-old is 5-11 as a starter and has thrown for 4,714 yards, 25 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in 19 total games played.
While Cleveland’s top two quarterbacks are out, the statuses of the other players on the reserve/COVID-19 list is unknown. ESPN’s Dianna Russini was told the team is still waiting for more test results. The Browns have until 2 p.m. to activate players.