Edwards tests positive for COVID, Boyle’s return delayed as Ravens open camp

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In case there were any thoughts about the Ravens being past the pandemic as preparations ramp up for the 2021 season, a reminder came as veterans reported for the start of training camp on Tuesday.

Running back Gus Edwards will miss at least the first 10 days of camp after testing positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The news came as a high-ranking team official said Ravens players are in the “90-percent range” for receiving the vaccine, an encouraging increase after head coach John Harbaugh said the percentage of vaccinated Baltimore players was “well above 50 percent” in mid-June.

While the discourse over vaccinations will continue, one Ravens veteran said it shouldn’t be a point of contention or distraction within the locker room.

“The biggest thing is, ‘To each their own,'” said 14th-year defensive end Calais Campbell, who is also a member of the NFL Players Association executive committee. “I would like for people to be whatever makes them feel comfortable. I’m a fan of the vaccination. I got it for myself, and I will encourage a guy if I think that he wants to get vaccinated to get more information. If he doesn’t, that’s fine.”

It’s unknown whether Edwards had been vaccinated after he signed a two-year, $10 million extension through the 2023 season in June.

Edwards isn’t the only key offensive player who won’t be on the field as the Ravens conduct their first full-squad practice on Wednesday morning. Tight end Nick Boyle already appeared unlikely to be ready for the first day of camp, but a cleanup procedure on his surgically-repaired knee earlier this summer will delay his return to the field. It’s unclear whether the 28-year-old will play in any of the Ravens’ three preseason games next month.

Widely regarded as one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, Boyle hasn’t played since sustaining a serious left knee injury in the Week 10 loss at New England last November. In late January, the 2015 fifth-round pick agreed to a two-year, $13 million extension through the 2023 campaign.

“He’s been working hard since his injury,” fellow tight end Mark Andrews said. “He’s been doing a great job of getting back to it as soon as he can. He’s the type of guy who’s going to come back stronger, so I’m excited for him.”

For now, Boyle remains on the active physically unable to perform list, but he can return to practice at any point and will still count against the 90-man preseason roster. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle), inside linebacker Otaro Alaka (knee), and cornerback Iman Marshall (knee) were also placed on the active PUP list last week.

Veteran offensive tackle Ju’Wuan James was placed on the non-football injury list and is considered a long shot to play in 2021 after tearing his Achilles tendon this spring. The Ravens also placed tight end Jake Breeland (knee) and rookie guard Ben Cleveland on the non-football injury list last week. Players who do not pass the conditioning test upon reporting for camp are placed on that list, but it’s unclear whether that was the reason Cleveland, a third-round pick out of Georgia, initially landed on the list.