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Ravens strength coach Steve Saunders back at work after coronavirus-related suspension

Ravens head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders has returned from a monthlong suspension, coach John Harbaugh said Monday.

Saunders, who was on the M&T Bank Stadium sideline for Sunday’s win over the New York Giants, was disciplined last month for his conduct relating to a widespread COVID-19 outbreak in Baltimore. Sources said Saunders had not routinely worn a proximity tracker or mask, as required by NFL rules, and had not reported potential COVID-19 symptoms as he worked with players.

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The Ravens announced Nov. 25 that they disciplined a staff member “for conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff at the Ravens.”

“He’s back,” Harbaugh said of Saunders, who’s worked with the team since 2016. “He’s back working. He came back last week, so you see him working. Beyond that, really, I have no comments on it. It is what it is. We never do comment on internal discipline at all, whoever it might be. We’re just moving forward.”

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The NFL fined the Ravens $250,000 for coronavirus protocol violations stemming from their outbreak, which sidelined 23 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, a league source confirmed Sunday. As first-time offenders, the Ravens were not docked any draft picks.

In a statement earlier this month, team president Dick Cass said the organization “believe[s] in the protocol and made every effort to adhere to it.”

“Despite our best efforts, the protocol is only as effective as our weakest link,” Cass continued. “With a dangerous virus like this, everyone must comply with the protocol to avoid infecting many. We now know that not everyone at the Ravens followed the protocol thoroughly.”

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