Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Monday said cornerback Marlon Humphrey remains on a 10-day self-isolation timeline after testing positive for COVID-19, meaning the All-Pro could return to practice this week ahead of the team’s Sunday night road game against the New England Patriots.
“It’s a 10-day protocol, to my understanding,” Harbaugh said at his weekly news conference. “Nothing’s changed that’s been reported to me.”
Humphrey announced last Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19. The team placed him on the reserve/COVID-19 list and he did not play in the team’s 24-10 road win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
The seven players who were deemed high-risk close contacts to Humphrey — outside linebackers Matthew Judon and Tyus Bowser, inside linebackers Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison and L.J. Fort, safety DeShon Elliott and cornerback Terrell Bonds — conducted a five-day self-isolation period and on Saturday were activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Under NFL protocols, if a player is showing symptoms, he can return after at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours have passed since he last experienced symptoms.
If a player is not showing symptoms, he can return after 10 days have passed since the initial positive test or after five days have passed since the initial positive test and the player receives two straight negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) virus tests at least 24 hours apart.
The defense performed well without Humphrey, forcing two turnovers and scoring its 12th touchdown since the start of the 2018 season.
“I think the biggest thing is that we all took it as, ‘Somebody just has to step up.’ We can’t complain,” cornerback Marcus Peters said after the game. "We understand the situation that we’re dealt with right now. We know that things are going to be up and down throughout this whole year. So, we just have to find a way to adapt and overcome these types of situations.
“We saw when the guys went down during the game … Like I said, guys just stepped up, and that’s what we need over here; next man up and keep playing Raven football, and we’ll be alright.”
Harbaugh hopes expanded practice squads stay
The NFL expanded the size of practice squads this season to 16 players as a precaution for playing during the coronavirus pandemic, and Harbaugh said it’s benefited the team after a rash of injuries has tested its depth, especially on special teams.
As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, the size of each NFL team’s practice squad was set to increase from 10 to 12 in 2020 and then 14 in 2022.
The larger practice squads, coupled with a new provision in the CBA that allows up to two practice squad players per week to be elevated to the game week roster, has given teams roster flexibility as they navigate an unprecedented season.
“I would be hopeful that some of these rules carry over past this year,” Harbaugh said. “I think it really helped teams put a good team on the field with guys who actually have been on your team and who are at least trained up. ... It’s been a plus for us. It’s been definitely a challenge but the same challenge everybody’s facing this year.”
>> Regarding the decision to elevate practice squad wide receiver Dez Bryant, who played two offensive snaps, Harbaugh said: “We had the spot and we thought he’s ready enough to do it. ... We knew it wasn’t going to be a lot of reps. I didn’t know how many it would be exactly. We’ll just see going forward how it works out. It’s really not something I think we need to advertise. We’ll just see where it goes.”
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>> Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has yet to register a quarterback hit or sack in two games with the Ravens but Harbaugh believes the 2017 Pro Bowl selection has become more comfortable in the system since the team acquired him in a trade on Oct. 22. “He was a factor off the edge,” Harbaugh said. “I thought he flushed [Colts quarterback] Phillip [Rivers] out a few times, ran to the ball, chased a couple things down, played well against the run. He’s still learning the defense, certainly, but he was very active out there and man I’ll tell you, he adds a speed factor to our defense. ... The stats that you’re talking about, those are definitely going to be on the horizon.”