Six more Ravens players were added to the reserve-COVID-19 list just three days before their twice-rescheduled meeting with Pittsburgh was scheduled to be played.
On Saturday, outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson, offensive tackles D.J. Fluker and Will Holden, defensive tackle Broderick Washington, and cornerbacks Tavon Young and Khalil Dorsey were all placed on the list, but it was unclear which players tested positive for the virus and who were “high-risk” close contacts. With Baltimore’s training facility having been closed since Tuesday, players fitting into the latter category would be eligible to play against the Steelers if they’ve continued to test negative and remained symptom-free for five days since coming in contact with the infected individual.
The Ravens now have an absurd 20 players on the COVID-19 list, but three — Young, Dorsey, and fellow cornerback Iman Marshall — are currently on injured reserve. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams is the only player on the list confirmed by the Ravens to be a “close contact,” but no one from the organization has answered questions publicly since head coach John Harbaugh’s Monday afternoon video conference.
With Fluker, Holden, and Washington now on the list, the Ravens have reached the point where simply fielding complete offensive and defensive lines — never mind the quality of them — is a real question, and that’s taking into account anticipated elevations from the practice squad.
As of Saturday afternoon, those available on the offensive line would be Orlando Brown Jr., Bradley Bozeman, Ben Powers, Trystan Colon-Castillo, Ben Bredeson, Tyre Phillips, R.J. Prince, and Jake Rodgers. Phillips was just designated to return from injured reserve this week, Prince is on the practice squad, and Rodgers was claimed off waivers on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Ravens are down to veterans Derek Wolfe and Justin Ellis as well as rookie practice-squad member Aaron Crawford for their defensive line, but outside linebackers Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue are also capable of lining up at different spots up front.
Meanwhile, mounting COVID-19 problems continued on Pittsburgh’s side with starting running back James Conner testing positive for the virus. Of course, it’s widely known that Conner is a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, making his health of greater concern.
In more upbeat roster news, the Ravens officially elevated veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant to the 53-man roster on Saturday. The 32-year-old appeared in two games as a practice-squad elevation and led all Baltimore wide receivers with four catches for 28 yards in the overtime loss to Tennessee last Sunday.
Former New York Jets cornerback Pierre Desir was also signed to the practice squad.
The Ravens put out another estimated injury report despite not practicing on Saturday. Practice-squad tight end Luke Willson was listed as a non-participant due to illness, which is clearly something to monitor in the next day or two.
Six Ravens players were officially listed as questionable for Tuesday night, a description that feels appropriate for the game itself at this point.
Below is Saturday’s official injury report:
QUESTIONABLE: TE Mark Andrews (thigh), OLB Matthew Judon (ankle), G Tyre Phillips (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (ankle/back), TE Luke Willson (illness), DE Derek Wolfe (illness)
OUT: RB Jaylen Samuels (quadriceps)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Joe Haden (knee)