The Cleveland Browns are dealing with a full-blown disaster just two days before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
20 players have tested positive for COVID-19 this week and head coach Kevin Stefanski has as well.
That meant backup quarterback Case Keenum was going to lead the Browns on Saturday.
But he too has tested positive for the virus, leaving Nick Mullens as the starter.
And there’s more: Browns also have four other defensive players that tested positive for COVID-19 today, bringing the total of Cleveland players with it this week to 20, per @ByKimberleyA and me. https://t.co/taJ2mNhkqa
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 16, 2021
The Browns are 7-6 and fighting for a playoff berth.
Yet now, they are just trying to field a roster for Saturday’s game.
Mullens In The Spotlight
Mullens has starting experience with the San Francisco 49ers and has been in the NFL since 2017.
But he is obviously not the ideal option at quarterback in a must-win game where so many weapons are out for the Browns.
However, he has had more success than most third-string quarterbacks.
Likely Browns starter Nick Mullens has 16 career starts to his name.
In those 16 games, he's thrown for a total of 4,405 yards, the second most by any QB in his first 16 career starts in NFL History behind only Patrick Mahomes.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 16, 2021
Keenum turning in a positive test Thursday means he is out for Saturday.
Mayfield tested positive earlier in the week, leaving some hope that he could return.
But barring a surprise, Mullens will be under center.
The NFL may have to seriously consider moving this game or adjusting the COVID protocols for vaccinated individuals.
Yet a positive test is still alarming and even if an outbreak is among vaccinated players, the NFL doesn’t want to have a scenario where players are spreading the virus during a game.
This is unprecedented territory given the fact most of the Browns are vaccinated.
Do they still present a risk to others?
That is for medical experts to decide and in the interim, it looks like the game will be played unless the Raiders demand it be put on hold for safety reasons.
If Mullens can lead the team to victory, no one in Cleveland will ever forget his name.