Marlon Humprhey Missed Practice Due to 'Illness,' Played on Sunday, Then Tested Positive For COVID-19

By Stephen Douglas
Marlon Humphrey
Marlon Humphrey / Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey played all 53 defensive snaps. On Monday Humphrey went on Twitter to announce he had tested positive for COVID-19. While most NFL coronavirus tests barely register anymore, this one should shed a light on the shortfalls of the current NFL protocols.

Humphrey was listed on the Ravens' injury report all week with an illness. He did not practice on Wednesday because of "non-COVID 19 illness." Yeah, turns out those were symptoms. In the real world, people are told to stay home and not go to work, but since the NFL is testing regularly, Humphrey was allowed to practice and play in Sunday's game before he finally tested positive.

Marlon Humphrey missed practice on Wednesday because of "illness."
Marlon Humphrey missed practice on Wednesday because of "illness."

Now for another problem with the NFL's current protocols. Players are tested on game days. However, they don't get results until "late Sunday/early Monday." So two players who had tested positive were allowed on the field on Sunday. Hey, remember Justin Turner? Major League Baseball sure did luck out by not dealing with allowing a COVID-positive player to participate in a game because it didn't happen until the final game of the World Series.

Look, positive cases are going to happen as long as sports - both professional and collegiate and high school - continue to happen outside of bubbles. This is the choice everyone has made. But this seems wrong even for the NFL. They have more resources available to them than anyone. And the Ravens allowing him to practice and play with an illness seems kind of dumb now.

Hopefully, Humphrey wasn't exposed to anyone on his team or the Steelers long enough to infect them. It seems more likely that the virus would be spread between lineman than those outside the trenches, but you never know. The fact that the NFL allowed multiple players on the field this week while they waited for results seems like the kind of thing that will eventually backfire. Maybe it's time for the NFL and NFLPA to go back to the table and work out some new protocols.

Or maybe nobody really cares. Sometimes the most simple explanation is the right one.

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