Ravens-Steelers Thanksgiving Night Game Moved to Sunday After to Coronavirus Outbreak

The Thanksgiving night game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers has been moved to Sunday, the NFL announced Wednesday.

Kickoff is set for 1:15 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast nationally by NBC.

The decision came after the COVID-19 outbreak among the Ravens worsened, and it prompted an angry response from Steelers players.

Baltimore added three more players — offensive linemen Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura and defensive end Calais Campbell — to the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday. The Ravens now have seven players who tested positive or have been identified as close contacts, a group that has totaled 2,127 snaps this season.

The Ravens issued a statement later Wednesday, saying an unnamed staff member has been disciplined “for conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff at the Ravens.” The team did not provide additional details.

The NFL decided to postpone the game because it wants to use the rest of the week to conduct more testing and contact tracing, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. The announcement came about 31 hours before the scheduled kickoff.

“This decision was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts,” the NFL said in a statement.

The outbreak has been widespread in Baltimore, where members of the Ravens’ coaching staff and support staff have also tested positive.

“We appreciate the NFL for its diligence in working closely with us to ensure the well-being of players, coaches and staff from both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers organizations,” the Ravens said in an earlier statement.

This is the second time the Steelers’ schedule has been affected by COVID-19. Their Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans was moved to Week 7 because of an outbreak in the Titans organization. The first Ravens matchup was then moved from Week 7 to the Steelers’ originally scheduled bye on Week 8, and the Week 4 postponement became Pittsburgh’s de facto bye week.

This time, the Steelers lose their mini-bye week with the Thanksgiving game being moved to Sunday.

The Steelers will not host fans for Sunday’s game because new orders and advisories from the state of Pennsylvania regarding limits on outdoor gatherings go into effect Friday. Only friends and family of players and the organization will be allowed in the seating bowl for a full capacity at Heinz Field of 2,500, including coaches and players.

Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster tweeted within minutes of Wednesday’s announcement of the rescheduled game, expressing his disappointment.

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SOURCE: ESPN, Jamison Hensley and Brooke Pryor