Ravens-Steelers showdown could finally happen & other NFL notes

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are finally set to meet Wednesday in a game that has been rescheduled three times. The undefeated Steelers were originally scheduled to host the 6-4 Ravens on Thanksgiving night. But a COVID-19 outbreak in Baltimore forced NFL officials to move the game to Sunday afternoon and then Tuesday night before landing on Wednesday.

Baltimore will be without quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is one of several Ravens on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Pittsburgh will be without starting running back James Conner and standout defensive end Stephon Tuitt, among others, because of COVID-19.

Pittsburgh can move to 11-0 with a win and eliminate Baltimore from the AFC North race in the process.

The game is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. Eastern time.


Broncos get their QBs back

UNDATED (AP) — Quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien (RIH’-pihn) and Blake Bortles will be allowed to rejoin their teammates at practice Wednesday after the Denver Broncos activated them from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Their return means practice squad receiver Kendall Hinton won’t have to be the one taking the snaps at Kansas City next weekend as he did in Denver’s 31-3 loss to New Orleans on Sunday.

The Broncos were forced to play the Saints without any of their quarterbacks after Lock, Rypien and Bortles were deemed high-risk close contacts 24 hours earlier for having been mask-less around QB Jeff Driskel before he tested positive for the coronavirus on Thanksgiving.

The NFL denied Denver’s request to push the Saints game back 48 hours, which would have allowed their QBs to return to action. So they turned to Hinton, a former quarterback in college, and sprinkled in some direct snaps to running backs Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay.

Lock, Rypien and Bortles were removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday after testing negative for a fifth consecutive day.

In other NFL news:

— The Cleveland Browns are dealing with another COVID-19 case after an unidentified staff member tested positive. The team closed its facility Wednesday to conduct contact tracing, which has become routine the past two weeks because of several other positive tests. The Browns are expected to practice indoors after heavy snow in the Cleveland area. They activated star defensive end Myles Garrett from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday and expect him to practice as they get ready to play at Tennessee on Sunday. Garrett missed two games after becoming infected.

— Quarterback Mike Glennon is getting another start for the Jacksonville Jaguars even though Gardner Minshew is healthy. Coach Doug Marrone says Minshew has been cleared to practice in full after recovering from a sprained thumb on his throwing hand, but he’s sticking with Glennon at Minnesota on Sunday. Glennon was solid in his first start since Week 4 of the 2017 season. He threw two touchdown passes in a 27-25 loss to Cleveland last week. He didn’t have a turnover and wasn’t sacked. It was the first time since the season opener Jacksonville played a turnover-free game.

— The Buffalo Bills are in position to get healthier for their stretch run with linebackers Matt Milano and Tyrel Dodson designated to return to practice after spending time on injured reserve. Milano, a starter, missed three games over four weeks with a partially torn pectoral muscle. Dodson, a primary backup, has been sidelined since hurting his hamstring in a 26-17 loss to Kansas City on Oct. 19. Buffalo also signed receiver Jake Kumerow off its practice squad, adding depth at the position with starter John Brown placed on IR due to an ankle injury last weekend.

— The chief executive of rugby’s world governing body is leaving his role to take up a senior position at the NFL where he will drive the next stage of its growth in Europe. The NFL says Brett Gosper will begin his new role as Head of Europe and U.K. some time next year. The league says Gosper will have “overarching responsibility for the successful execution of NFL business strategy across the U.K. and Europe, including fan growth, live games and commercial success.” Gosper has been CEO of World Rugby since 2012 and has overseen World Cups in 2015 and ’19.