The games will go on.
The Washington Football Team and the Browns both have 18 players on the COVID-19 reserve list. The Rams have 16.
The NFL put another 31 players — 28 on active rosters and three on practice squad rosters — on the COVID-19 reserve list Wednesday.
The message to the 32 clubs at the NFL’s winter meetings Wednesday was the season will finish on time, with no adjustments to the schedule.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked specifically if the league had any discussions about postponing the Browns game against the Raiders, which is scheduled for Saturday.
“There has not been any discussion about that,” Goodell said. “We feel confident that with continuing changes and adaptions through our protocols that we can do that.”
The NFL and its Players Association have agreed to a rules change for the 2021 postseason, eliminating the cap for how many times a player can be a standard elevation from the practice squad without being dropped from the roster. Other changes could be coming to try to get through the season.
“Listen, we’ve raised this the last two years: It’s a challenge,” Goodell said. “I think the things that made us successful was keeping safety first. Second, being willing to adapt at all times. We adapted several times last year. We’ve had to do that coming into this season. We work closely with the Players Association on those changes. And it’s clear even in the last couple of weeks that the changes are pretty significant and different than they were before, and I think it calls to modifications to our protocols in general, and we’re working with the Players Association on that. We obviously have some steps that we feel are necessary to take, but we’re confident we can work our way through it.”
Goodell was asked whether the league has a threshold where it would consider postponing or canceling games because of competitive implications.
“I don’t think we have something that we’ve set as a specific (number),” Goodell said. “You know one of the things we’ve really worked on is trying to give clubs flexibility. With respect to this, we have larger rosters. We have 16 practice squad players now. We’ve given our clubs with a lot more flexibility in respect of being able to move players off of that practice squad but always off the injured reserve. I think those things have allowed clubs to be able to make sure they’re maintaining the best competitive product out there. One of the things that amazes me about the season is how competitive the game is. . . . I think that’s a lot because of the flexibility and the ability for us to be able to manage pandemics, which we’ve been doing the last two seasons and doing at an incredibly high level as far as being competitive.”