Baker Mayfield has undergone surgery to repair a torn labrum, which the Cleveland Browns quarterback labelled a "complete success".

After helping the Browns to the Divisional Round of the playoffs in the 2020 season, Mayfield struggled badly in 2021 as he battled the injury to his left shoulder.

Mayfield finished with career-lows in passing yards (3,010) and touchdowns (17) while throwing 13 interceptions in 14 games having been picked only eight times in 16 games in 2020.

His decline in performance has led to increased scrutiny over his long-term viability as the Browns' starting quarterback. The 2018 first overall pick is a free agent after next season.

However, speaking in a video on Instagram, Mayfield was upbeat about his prospects of returning to his best.

"Surgery went great, it was a complete success, now it's on the road to recovery, this is one of the steps to get back to my true self," he said. 

"This is not the end of my story, it's gonna be one of those little things that I'll look back and I'll remember that it's one of those challenges and adversity that I'm going to try take advantage of."

The Browns expect Mayfield to make a full recovery in four to six months and begin light throwing in April. It is anticipated he will be ready for the start of training camp ahead of the 2022 season.

The Cleveland Browns "fully expect" Baker Mayfield to be their starting quarterback in 2022 despite a difficult 2021 season as the side missed the playoffs.

The Browns finished their 8-9 season with a 21-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals after a three-game losing skid which saw them fall out of postseason contention.

Mayfield started 14 games, completing 253 of 418 passes for 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns with 13 interceptions and 43 sackings.

The 2018 NFL Draft first pick, however, played through a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder, with Case Keenum finishing the season as the Browns starting QB.

"It's easy to forget at this point of the year what we've seen with Baker over the past several years," Browns general manager Andrew Berry said.

"We've been with Baker for a long period - we know his work ethic, we know his drive, we've seen him [be] a talented passer in this league, and we're looking forward to him getting healthy and continue to make improvements."

Berry added: "We fully expect Baker to be our starter and bounce back."

Mayfield's completion rate of 60.5 percent was well down on the NFL's quarterbacks list, with teammate Keenum throwing at 65.3 percent in his two starts and seven games overall.

"We're looking forward to Baker getting healthy in the offseason," Berry said, "Then putting in good work through the spring and with his coaches for having the type of season that we know he can have."

Mayfield will undergo surgery on the torn labrum next week with a view to fully participating in preseason team activities in late May.

"Baker, he's team-oriented, he's a competitor, he's super tough," Berry said. "He truly wants what's best for the team and really to take the steps he needs to improve to become the quarterback that we know that he can become."

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is set to have surgery on his injured shoulder as soon as possible, ruling him out of action against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mayfield revealed after Monday's defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers that he would undergo an operation on the torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder – an issue he has carried since Week 2 -  in the offseason.

"I've continued to lay it out on the line when I haven't been healthy and tried to fight for our guys," said Mayfield post-game. "Now it's time for me to start looking at what's in the best interest of me and my health."

Initially, Mayfield's status for the Week 18 home game with the Bengals was uncertain.

But Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski announced on Tuesday that his starting quarterback will miss the game on Sunday in a bid to complete his surgery as soon as possible.

Stefanski added that both parties came to a mutual decision to end Mayfield's season a week early, with Cleveland (7-9) already out of postseason contention as they sit fourth in AFC North.

Case Keenum is in line to replace Mayfield for the game against the Bengals (10-6), who have already clinched the division title and still have an outside chance of claiming the number one seed in the conference.

The Browns were already out of the running for the playoffs before the loss to the Steelers (8-7-1), in which Mayfield was sacked nine times in a performance that summed up his difficult campaign.

Mayfield has been sacked on 43 occasions across 14 games, up from 26 sacks in 16 outings last season, while he has also been intercepted five more times (13 to eight).

Only two quarterbacks, Joe Burrow (51) and Ryan Tannehill (46), have been sacked more than the Browns QB this year. 

His 3,010 passing yards is the lowest haul of his career, with his tally of touchdown passes also a low mark (17), while only four players in the league have a worse interception percentage than his 3.1.

Next season could be Mayfield's last given his current Cleveland deal expires at the end of the 2022 campaign, with the Browns having already exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield revealed after defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers that he will undergo shoulder surgery during the offseason.

Mayfield has carried the problem – a torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder – since Week 2 of the season.

The 26-year-old has endured a difficult campaign, and was sacked nine times against the Steelers on Monday as Pittsburgh kept their playoff hopes alive. The Browns were already out of postseason contention before the game at Heinz Field.

Mayfield has been sacked 43 times across 14 games, up from 26 sacks in 16 appearances last season, while he has also been intercepted on five more occasions (13 to eight).

Only two quarterbacks – Joe Burrow (51) and Ryan Tannehill (46) – have been sacked more times this term.

His 3,010 passing yards is the lowest total of his career, with his tally of touchdown throws also a low mark (17), while his interception percentage of 3.1 ranks as the fifth-worst in the league.

Mayfield's season may now be over, with discussions set to take place within his camp on whether he will be available for the Browns' final game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have already clinched the AFC North.

"I'm an extremely competitive guy," Mayfield told reporters after Monday's game, in which he at one stage failed to complete a pass on 10 consecutive throws.

"Now it's time for me to start looking at what's in the best interest of me and my health. It's not gonna always be pretty or smooth, but I'm a fighter.

"If anybody ever questions how much I want it, just turn on this tape. It wasn't pretty, but I kept going, kept swinging; that's who I am, and that's what I will continue to be.

"I've continued to lay it out on the line when I haven't been healthy and tried to fight for our guys. Right now, I'm pretty damn beat up, to be honest with you. There's no way around it. I gave it everything I had tonight."

Next season could be Mayfield's last with the Browns. His rookie contract runs through the 2022 campaign.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struggled to rein in his emotions as he reflected on what seems likely to be his final home game.

Roethlisberger is all set to retire at the end of the season, but he gave the Steelers fans another reason to laud his name as he helped Pittsburgh to a vital 26-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday.

Pittsburgh are now 8-7 in the AFC North, and will need to beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 18, whole relying on the Jacksonville Jaguars to do them a favour against the Indianapolis Colts, to make the playoffs.

Should the Steelers clinch a postseason berth, it will be the 12th time they have reached the playoffs in Roethlisberger's 18 seasons with the team.

The 39-year-old threw for one touchdown, 123 yards and a touchdown on what was his last regular-season start at Heinz Field, which he has called home since 2004.

He has thrown for 69,478 yards across his 18-season career so far (both regular and postseason), ranking him third among NFL quarterbacks during that time, behind Tom Brady (85,046) and Drew Brees (80,111), who are also the only QBs to have tallied up more appearances than Roethlisberger's 269.

Roethlisberger ranks fourth during that timespan for touchdown passes (450), behind Aaron Rodgers (492), Brees (579) and Brady (629). Only eight quarterbacks to have played over 100 games have registered a higher touchdown percentage than the Steelers veteran (4.9).

In a postgame, on-field interview with ESPN, Roethlisberger could not hold back the tears.

"It's funny. Probably not the way you wanted it, other than the win, and that’s all that really matters, that's kind of been the story of my career," he began.

"Not always pretty but we find a way. Man, did our defense step up tonight and it was just so much fun to be out here. These players, this place.

"I didn't think I was going to take the field again, but it's the best play as an offensive player in football, to take a knee. I'm glad I got to do it one last time."

Asked what it felt like leaving Heinz Field, Roethlisberger replied: "I don't know, with a win."

"I'm just so thankful for the fans, my family obviously," he added.

"The good Lord has blessed me in so many ways. We’ve still got another game obviously, excited for that but this is just an awesome place."

"Probably about now," he said when asked if the occasion had sunk in. "This is the end of it, having the chance to go back out there.

"I'm just so excited for these fans and this place, there's not another place like it.

"I'm so thankful and blessed to be able to call this place home for almost half my life. In front of these fans, seeing all the signs, all the jerseys. I've been so blessed and I'm just so thankful."

The night may have belonged to Roethlisberger, who walked to the midfield logo alone for the opening coin toss, on what was his 135th start at Heinz Field.

However, Najee Harris was the star man for the Steelers, running in a career-best 188 yards and a touchdown, with Chris Boswell kicking four field goals and Defensive Player of the Year candidate T.J. Watt sacking Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield four times.

Watt is now on 21.5 sacks for the season, one short of the NFL record set by Michael Strahan in 2001.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield paid tribute to Pittsburgh Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger as the two players prepared to do battle in Monday Night Football.

Roethlisberger said this week "all the signs" are that the clash will be his last regular-season game at Heinz Field.

The 39-year-old is anticipated to retire after the 2021 season amid reports he has told former team-mates and people within the franchise that he expects to bring his illustrious career to an end.

The Steelers great, a winner of two Super Bowls, gave a strong indication his playing days are almost over as Pittsburgh strive to sneak into the playoffs without explicitly confirming he would retire.

And Mayfield, who was asked about the comments, revealed he was a huge admirer of Roethlisberger even though he will be looking to deny the veteran's bid for a last postseason appearance.

"There is a lot that I admire about his game and respect about it, to be honest with you," said Mayfield.

"His play, he extends plays, but he also trusts his guys thoroughly. 

"He trusts his receivers, tight ends and all of those guys to make plays for him, and he has done it consistently, no matter who has been out there with him. 

"When it comes to fourth quarter or coming back and sparking drives for a comeback and when a play is needed to be made, he has consistently done that for a long, long time. 

"That is something you can't teach. He has just had that, and that is why he has had success for so long."

Six-time Pro Bowler Roethlisberger has spent an incredible 18 years with the Steelers and has 163 career wins to his name, a record in the NFL for players who have spent their entire career with one team.

Tom Brady is the only quarterback to have won more games with a single franchise, racking up 219 victories for the New England Patriots.

The Browns are 7-8 while the Steelers are at 7-7-1, but neither team are out of contention in a competitive AFC North.

Mayfield added: "With everything in our division and the situation at hand for both teams right now, regardless of Ben's situation, I think it will be a great environment. 

"To add on top of that, just everything that he has given to that franchise over the years and the success he has had consistently for a very, very long time, I have nothing but respect for Ben. 

"I am expecting just an even better environment. Both teams to be playing for the likelihood of the playoffs at hand. 

"It is just one of those things that everything is aligning to where this game matters quite a bit, but for us, we need to handle it like any other game – one play at a time and do our job at the best possible level we can."

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski added about Roethlisberger: "Obviously, he is a great player, but I am really focused on trying to defend him Monday night. He is still playing at a really high level."

Remarkably, the Steelers have won 17 straight home regular season games against the Browns, the third-longest home winning streak against one team in NFL history, though Cleveland did win in the playoffs last season.

Pittsburgh have scored fewer than 20 points in eight of their 15 games this season, the most such games in one season since 2003, when they were held below 20 points nine times. 

Roethlisberger, though, has a 24-2-1 record in his 27 career starts against the Browns. 

Cleveland's last three games were a 24-22 win against the Ravens, 16-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and a 24-22 loss at the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Day.

It is only the second time in Browns history that they have played three consecutive games decided by no more than a two-point margin following a similar run in 2014. 

The Cleveland Browns certainly aren't alone in having struggles finding a long-term answer at quarterback, and their decades-long issues at the position have arguably been the most persistent and the most publicised.

An answer looked to have been found in the form of 2018 first overall pick Baker Mayfield. Indeed, it was hard not to feel optimistic about the Browns coming off a 2020 season that saw them claim a first playoff win since the 1994 campaign and push the Kansas City Chiefs to the brink in the Divisional Round.

But that optimism has gradually dissipated over the course of an underwhelming campaign defined partially by Mayfield's struggles for injury and form, one now likely to end with the Browns in a depressingly familiar position: outside the playoff picture looking in.

And, as much as it was easy to have hope for the Browns even after their narrow loss to the Chiefs, it is difficult to escape the feeling they are back in quarterback hell following Mayfield's Christmas Day horror show in a defeat to the Green Bay Packers.

Mayfield's Yuletide troubles

There is no doubt the Browns, despite the injury and COVID-19 issues impacting the team, played well enough to beat the Packers.

They outgained Green Bay 408 yards to 311, averaged nearly a yard per play more than their opponents, were more efficient on third down and had the edge in time of possession.

Mayfield was the mitigating factor, tossing four interceptions, including Rasul Douglas' second of the game on the final Browns drive that sealed a 24-22 win for the Packers.

No quarterback to attempt at least 10 throws in Week 16 had a worse well-thrown percentage than Mayfield, who delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on just 55.6 per cent of his passes.

And, according to Stats Perform data, Mayfield should have produced two more turnovers. He tallied six pickable passes at Lambeau Field, the most of any quarterback in Week 16.

Not all of his interceptions were his fault. Douglas made an excellent break on a throw down the left sideline to beat Jarvis Landry to the ball for his first interception and got away with some extremely physical coverage on the game-clinching pick, though Mayfield's pass was probably too far in front of Donovan Peoples-Jones anyway.

Prior to those turnovers, Mayfield had been intercepted on a pair of high throws. Evidently having problems with mechanics, driving the ball with his chest was a clear issue for Mayfield, with that problem undoubtedly a symptom of playing through a torn labrum.

Yet accuracy issues and turnover-worthy throws are not a new concern for Mayfield.

Browns being short-changed

Last year, Mayfield had a well-thrown percentage of 76.4, below the average of 78 for quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts. Back in 2019, his second season in the league, only Jameis Winston and Philip Rivers delivered more pickable passes than Mayfield's 36.

That number dropped to 14 in 2020 as Mayfield made strides in the first season under head coach Kevin Stefanski but has jumped back up to 16 with two games left in this campaign, in which his well-thrown percentage of 76.1 is again inferior to the league average of 78.3 (min. 100 attempts).

Given his injury problems, this season cannot necessarily be ascribed to regression but, as they face a decision over whether to extend Mayfield as he enters the final year of his contract in 2022, the Browns must make an honest assessment about who Mayfield is, and their Christmas to forget essentially spelled it out for them.

Mayfield has proven he can be a playoff calibre quarterback, and the Browns built a roster around him to try to ensure he can consistently guide them to the postseason. However, his capitulation in Green Bay served as a demonstration that he is not a quarterback who can overcome adversity, either in the form of his own injury struggles or a depleted supporting cast, and elevate his team to victory when the cards are stacked against them.

Set against Packers star Aaron Rodgers performing at an MVP level while battling a seemingly severe toe injury and operating a similar offensive system, the Browns' hierarchy would be forgiven for a feeling of envy.

And, having intelligently constructed one of the better rosters in the league when healthy, that is not an emotion the Browns should be experiencing.

Knowing they have Mayfield under contract for at least another year, the Browns don't need to rush into a decision. At 7-8 and facing an uphill battle to make the playoffs, an urge to cut ties would be understandable, but doing so would be premature without a viable alternative. By the same token, there is little reason for the Browns to be compelled to chain themselves to Mayfield for the long term. 

It's not time for panic in Cleveland, but it's also not the time for a show of confidence in a quarterback too inconsistent to have earned such support.

Aaron Rodgers made franchise history as he led the Green Bay Packers to a Christmas Day victory against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers overtook Packers legend Brett Favre for the most passing touchdowns in Green Bay history after finding Allen Lazard from 11 yards in the first quarter.

The 38-year-old threw for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the 24-22 win as the Packers extended their lead at the top of the NFC, moving to a 12-3 record.

Rodgers reached 445 career touchdown passes by the end of the game, beating Favre's haul of 442 for Green Bay.

Wide receiver Davante Adams made 10 catches for a total of 114 yards, scoring two TDs, the fourth time he has made 10 or more catches in a game this season.

Rodgers and Adams also became the Packers' most productive partnership in franchise history after combining for a TD for the 66th time, surpassing Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.

Baker Mayfield, meanwhile, struggled in his first game back since being activated from the Browns' COVID-19 list, being sacked five times and throwing four interceptions in Wisconsin.

Cleveland, now on a record of 7-8 for the season, gave themselves late hope with an Anthony Schwartz TD in the fourth quarter, but were unable to add further.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals lost a third game in a row after a 22-16 home loss against the Indianapolis Colts at State Farm Stadium.

Despite being sacked twice, Carson Wentz threw two TDs, one in the first quarter to T.Y. Hilton to give the Colts the lead, and then a 14-yard effort to Dezmon Patmon in the fourth to take the game away from the hosts.

Jonathan Taylor made over 100 rushing yards (108) for the Colts for the ninth time this season, and has now done so in six of his last seven outings.

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray saw plenty of the ball, making 43 throws in the game, but could only complete 27 of them, finding the endzone only once as he combined with Antoine Wesley as Arizona nudged ahead at the start of the second half.

Wentz and the Colts were able to wrestle control though, and move on to 9-6, while the Cardinals now sit at 10-5, dropping to fifth in the NFC.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list meaning he could play in Saturday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

The Browns QB has been on the COVID-19 list since December, missing Monday's 16-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Mayfield is eligible to play on Saturday due to the 10-day rule without clearing testing protocols.

The 26-year-old has completed 216 of 344 passes this season with a completion rate 62.8 percent for 2,603 yards and 13 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Nick Mullens deputized in Mayfield's absence against the Raiders but only managed one touchdown pass in the loss.

The Browns are currently 7-7 and fourth in the wide-open AFC North, while the Packers have clinched the NFC North divisional title with a 10-3 record.

The Indianapolis Colts have dominated selection for the Pro Bowl with seven players named for the game due to be played on 6 February in Las Vegas for the first time.

Colts' MVP contender running back Jonathan Taylor was among five players confirmed earlier this week but he was joined by six other team-mates as the full NFC and AFC rosters were revealed on Wednesday.

Indianapolis also had center Ryan Kelly, guard Quenton Nelson, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard, cornerback Kenny Moore II and special teams long snapper Luke Rhodes all selected, with the Colts enjoying a run of five wins in six games to sit second in the AFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had already been named earlier this week for a record 15th Pro Bowl, with Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray and Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers joining him as NFC QBs.

The selected AFC quarterbacks were Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert, Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson and Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs and Chargers had six players selected in total, while the Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Bucs all had five representatives.

Four rookies were selected in Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts, Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater and Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.

The NFC and AFC rosters are determined by a vote of the fans, players and coaches.

Derek Carr was afraid he might have squandered the Las Vegas Raiders' last chance to win Monday when he threw an interception deep in Cleveland territory with the Browns leading by a point. 

The quarterback pleaded with his defense afterward to get him the ball back, vowing to win the game if they did, and that's exactly what happened. 

After Las Vegas forced a three-and-out, Carr drove the Raiders downfield and set up Daniel Carlson for a 48-yard field goal that gave the visitors a 16-14 victory as time expired. 

"After that interception, I told the guys 'Please, I promise we’ll win it, just get the ball back,'" Carr told reporters. "And the defense did, and we were able to go back down the field and win the game." 

Carr was trying to hit Zay Jones deep down the field when Greedy Williams picked it off, and Jones was frustrated on the sidelines after the play, but Carr made sure the receiver knew there was still football to be played. 

"I went to him right after that pick and I said, 'I'm coming right back to you and we're gonna win this game,'" Carr said. "I knew I needed him, and I wanted him to know, not only do I need you, but I believe in you." 

Sure enough, Jones was Carr's main target on the game-winning drive, catching a 12-yard pass for a key third-down conversion, then seeing a 17-yard reception called back by a holding penalty before a 15-yard connection in the closing seconds set up Carlson for the winning kick. 

"I trust him," Carr said of Jones. "I'm just happy that we got the ball back not for my own sake, but so that he could get the ball back in his hands. He won the game for us. It was awesome." 

Victory was especially sweet for the Raiders after several players had publicly aired their displeasure with the NFL moving the game back two days due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Browns facility. 

Cleveland were missing eight starters, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, not to mention head coach Kevin Stefanski, but the Raiders desperately needed a win having lost five of their previous six games. 

The victory left them at 7-7 and level with the Browns, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos in the AFC playoff picture, but they own the tiebreaker over those teams for the 10th spot and are within a game of the six teams ahead of them. 

"It's been a long time coming to win a game like that in the end," said Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. "We understand the situation we're in and what the playoff race looks like."

The Raiders kept their playoff hopes alive Monday as Daniel Carlson's 48-yard field goal on the game's final play gave Las Vegas a 16-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns. 

Carlson's third field goal of the game was a devastating blow to the Browns, who were on the brink of what would have been a remarkable victory despite playing without eight starters and head coach Kevin Stefanski in a game pushed back two days due to COVID-19 concerns. 

But the home side were left to lament what might have been after Derek Carr engineered the 28th game-winning final drive of his career to put Carlson in range for the winning kick. 

The quarterback got the Raiders off to a hot start, completing his first nine passes of the game as Las Vegas rolled to a touchdown on their opening possession, but the visitors could not find the end zone again as Cleveland's defense stiffened. 

In the meantime, the Browns got their offense on track after star running back Nick Chubb was limited to just 14 yards on six carries in the first half. 

Chubb got the Browns on the scoreboard with a four-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and played a key part in the drive that set up third-string quarterback Nick Mullens' six-yard TD pass to Harrison Bryant that put the Browns up 14-13 with 3:45 to play. 

The Browns (7-7) intercepted a long heave from Carr on the ensuing Raiders possession but could not run out the clock, giving Las Vegas one last chance at a desperately needed win. 

The Raiders (7-7) had lost five of six games entering Monday, including an ugly 48-9 defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs in their previous game, and another defeat would have put them on the brink of elimination from playoff contention. 

John Johnson III was the only Cleveland Brown activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, leaving the team without their first and second-choice quarterbacks.

Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum have both been in health and safety protocols ahead of the delayed game against the Las Vegas Raiders, which had been set to be played on Saturday until the Browns' coronavirus outbreak prompted a reschedule.

Neither player was able to return in time to face the Raiders, although safety Johnson's involvement comes as a boost.

Nick Mullens therefore comes in for his first start as a Brown, having been waived by the Philadelphia Eagles at the start of the year – after leaving the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent – but restricted to the role of spectator until now.

Mullens made 16 starts across 19 games in three years with the Niners but had a miserable 5-11 record when deputising for Jimmy Garoppolo as a starter.

An injury-hit San Francisco had to rely on Mullens for eight starts in 2020, when he threw for 2,437 yards, 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Mullens was successful with 78.4 per cent of his pass attempts last season, matching Mayfield's output as Cleveland's starter in 2021.

However, the much-maligned Mayfield is able to push the ball downfield with his 8.95 air yards per attempt, ranking sixth in 2021 among NFL quarterbacks with 50 attempts or more. In 2020, Mullens' 6.59 air yards were the fifth-fewest among the same group.

Keenum, who has had 48 attempts this year, throws an accurate ball with 80.4 per cent of passes for just 6.78 air yards. He deputised for Mayfield in the Week 7 win over the Denver Broncos – the only game Mayfield has not started in the past three seasons – but is also out.

The NFL has been forced to move three games for Week 15 due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the league and the United States.

The Cleveland Browns, who could have been without as many as 20 players, were set to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, but that clash has been rescheduled for Monday.

The Washington Football Team were preparing to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the same day in which the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams were due to do battle, but both games will now take place on Tuesday.

The NFL announced the changes in a statement, which said: "We have made these schedule changes based on medical advice and after discussion with the NFLPA as we are seeing a new, highly transmissible form of the virus this week resulting in a substantial increase in cases across the league.

"We continue to make decisions in consultation with medical experts to ensure the health and safety of the NFL community."

Due to the changes, all six sides involved will have shorter breaks between Week 15 and 16. The Browns head to the Green Bay Packers on Christmas, while the Raiders, Eagles, Washington, Seahawks and Rams all have two days fewer to prepare for their next games.

The fixture alterations come after the NFL announced updated coronavirus protocols on Thursday, which include fully vaccinated players being allowed to return from quarantine a day after testing positive if they produce two negative tests within 24 hours and are asymptomatic.

Indeed, 32 players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday alone, after reports on Wednesday suggested around 100 NFL players recently tested positive for the virus across a three-day span.

Last season amid the ongoing global pandemic the NFL completed its season on time but had to reschedule 18 games.

In July, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell warned the 32 teams that no games would be rescheduled under such circumstances again and, instead, forfeits could happen.

Baker Mayfield was among five players to have been placed on the Cleveland Brown's reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.

ESPN reported that the quarterback has tested positive for the virus, making him doubtful for Saturday's home game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Mayfield will have to produce two negative tests before Saturday in order to participate.

Troy Hill, John Johnson III, Malik McDowell and Ifeadi Odenigbo were also placed onto the reserve/COVID-19 list, while Nate Meadors was moved to the practice squad/COVID-19 list.

The Browns' roster moves came shortly after they had confirmed head coach Kevin Stefanski is isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.

Like Mayfield, Stefanski will have to return two negative tests in order to be on the sidelines on Saturday. If he does not, then special teams co-ordinator Mike Priefer will serve as his temporary replacement.

Acting running backs coach Ryan Cordell has also tested positive for the virus.

On Tuesday, the Browns placed eight players onto the reserve/COVID-19 list, including four offensive starters – wide receiver Jarvis Landry, offensive guard Wyatt Teller, tight end Austin Hooper and left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr.

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