The Ravens' Week 7 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been bumped back a week after a coronavirus outbreak in the NFL forced a scheduling change.
The Ravens will now host the AFC North rival Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. The game was previously scheduled for Oct. 25. The Ravens' bye has been moved from Week 8 to Week 7.
The game was one of two rescheduled Friday. The Steelers' Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans, originally set to kick off Sunday, has been moved to Week 7. Their matchup was postponed Thursday after a rash of positive COVID-19 tests among Tennessee players and staffers.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday that the Week 7 postponement doesn’t significantly alter the team’s long-term plans this season.
“I definitely agree that the need to be flexible is something that — this is the year for that,” Harbaugh said in a video conference call. “That’s kind of important every year, but man, this is the year of flexibility. ... You go out and play it out however it plays out, and I do believe and understand that the league has the best interests at heart.”
This isn’t the first time the Ravens have been forced to change their plans. In 2008, Harbaugh’s first season in Baltimore, the team’s Week 2 road game against the Houston Texans was postponed to Week 10 because of Hurricane Ike. Despite playing 15 straight weeks without a bye, the Ravens finished the season 11-5 and advanced to the AFC championship game.
“It worked out well for us,” Harbaugh recalled Friday.
The NFL announced the scheduling shuffle Friday, hours after the Titans' COVID-19 outbreak expanded by two more players to a total of 14 within the past week.
Tennessee’s outbreak started with a defensive back on the practice squad added to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Sept. 24. Then outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen’s test result came back positive on Saturday, preventing him from traveling with Tennessee to Minnesota.
On Tuesday, the Titans placed three players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including defensive captain and lineman DaQuan Jones and long snapper Beau Brinkley, with five other team personnel testing positive. Former Ravens outside linebacker Kamalei Correa became the fourth player on that list Wednesday, and rookie cornerback Kristian Fulton became the fifth Thursday.
With the new cases, the Titans' total includes seven players and seven other organization members just since last Saturday. Coach Mike Vrabel said he’s confident the Titans have followed the contact-tracing protocol to identify anyone at risk from being close together.
The NFL alerted teams Thursday of new procedures to follow when dealing with an outbreak or having been exposed to a team having an outbreak.
“We’ll do exactly what the league asks us to do for the safety of the players and their families, and our staff and their families,” Vrabel said Thursday.
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The Associated Press contributed to this story.