The coronavirus pandemic is still affecting the Baltimore Ravens. Star quarterback Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the team’s first practice of training camp.
Coach John Harbaugh announced Jackson’s positive test after practice Wednesday and said running back Gus Edwards also tested positive. He would not go into much more detail about either case or say how long Jackson or Edwards would be out.
“It’s just part of the deal. It’s just the way the world is right now,” Harbaugh said. “We have 90 percent vaccinated, and I think we’re going to go above that, too, real soon here. So we’re in really great shape with the vaccinations.”
Jackson missed one game last season, in Week 12, when he also tested positive for the novel coronavirus. That game at Pittsburgh — originally scheduled for Thanksgiving — was postponed three times before it was finally played on a Wednesday in December. The Ravens didn’t practice for over a week, and their number of players on the reserve/COVID-19 list grew to more than 20. They lost that game to the Steelers, then won five in a row to end the regular season.
“You can obviously get COVID and then get it again,” Harbaugh said. “That’s kind of been demonstrated.”
Harbaugh said Jackson tested negative until Tuesday.
Jackson, who won MVP honors in 2019, is entering his fourth season with Baltimore. He threw for 2,757 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season. He’s also rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons.
Deshaun Watson practices with Houston Texans on first day of camp
Deshaun Watson was on the field for the start of training camp with the Houston Texans.
The future of the quarterback is uncertain after he asked for a trade in January before 22 women filed lawsuits alleging that he sexually assaulted or harassed them in March. Houston police and the NFL are investigating the allegations, but no charges have been filed.
Watson still wishes to be traded and reported to training camp solely to avoid being fined. He would have faced fines of $50,000 a day if he didn’t report.
Watson declined an interview request through a team spokesman. No reason was provided, but it’s possible he has been advised by his lawyer not to speak to reporters while the lawsuits are ongoing.
General manager Nick Caserio spoke before practice and was evasive when questioned about Watson’s status with the team.
“It’s a day-to-day endeavor,” Caserio said. “We’re going to take the information. We’re going to process that. We’re respectful of everybody and everything that’s involved. So we’ll kind of take it one day at a time. And ultimately we’re going to do what we feel is best for Houston Texans.”
Caserio and new coach David Culley insisted that Watson was not a distraction to the team.
“He has not been a distraction at all,” Culley said. “He’s been very professional about everything, just like all the guys have been here.”
Culley deflected most other questions about Watson, including if he expects him to be on the roster when the season begins and if he’ll take snaps with the first team during camp.
49ers QB Trey Lance, third overall draftee, signs rookie deal
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance signed his rookie contract ahead of the team’s first practice of training camp.
Selected No. 3 overall in the draft, Lance will receive a fully guaranteed four-year, $34.1 million deal. The Niners have the option to add a fifth year, as teams do with all first-rounders.
Lance practiced Wednesday and looked sharp, impressing coach Kyle Shanahan with a pair of deep balls to Deebo Samuel and George Kittle.
“It was the right spot to go with the ball both times,” Shanahan noted. “Deebo went by his guy and he made a perfect throw in stride. And then the one to Kittle was pretty good coverage but he gave him an opportunity ball and Kittle went up and made a play.”
Lance got reps with the second unit as Shanahan had promised on Tuesday, with Jimmy Garoppolo entrenched as the team’s No. 1 QB to start the season.
“There’s no open competition right now in terms of getting equal reps with the same group,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy is coming in as the (No.) 1 and Trey is coming in as the 2.”
Jets begin camp practices without unsigned QB Zach Wilson
The New York Jets kicked off their first practice of training camp without their hoped-for franchise quarterback.
Zach Wilson remains unsigned the only first-round draft pick to not have a deal done after San Francisco signed Lance earlier in the day.
“Obviously, from the business side of it, there’s a lot of things that come into play,” coach Robert Saleh said.
With Wilson, the No. 2 overall selection, still not signed, Mike White took the first snaps at practice with the Jets’ starters. James Morgan is New York’s only other quarterback on the roster.
When asked when he and the Jets would need Wilson on the field and practicing, Saleh smiled.
“Umm, ask me again tomorrow,” he said.
Wilson’s contract is slotted, per the NFL rookie wage scale, to be worth $35.15 million over four years and includes a $22.9 million signing bonus.