The Los Angeles Rams will face the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium Tuesday, two days after their Sunday matchup was postponed due to COVID-19 issues as the coronavirus upended schedules across the sports landscape.
The 9-4 Rams had more than 20 players on the league’s reserve/COVID list on Friday, when it was one of three NFL games postponed. Among the affected players were stars including Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr.
The team has since activated several from the list, and those players are expected to be in action when the Rams and 5-8 Seahawks kick off at 4 p.m. in a game that will be televised by Fox.
On Saturday, the Rams removed Beckham, defensive back Dont’e Deayon, running back Darrell Henderson Jr., linebacker Justin Hollins, tight end Brycen Hopkins and tackle Alaric Jackson from the COVID list. Ramsey was removed from the list on Sunday.
However, as of Monday, Miller, offensive lineman Rob Havenstein and safety Jordan Fuller were among the Rams’ starters still sidelined over COVID concerns. On Friday, the team announced that guard Jamil Demby, defensive back Grant Haley, tight end Tyler Higbee and linebacker Justin Lawler were the latest players added to the list.
It’s a day-to-day situation, with vaccinated players able to return to the squad if they test negative twice at least 24 hours apart. Unvaccinated players must remain isolated for 10 days.
The league also moved the Las Vegas Raiders-Cleveland Browns game scheduled for Saturday to Monday, and Sunday’s scheduled game between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles to Tuesday.
“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,” the NFL said Friday.
Meanwhile, the NFL and its players association have promised a new set of COVID-19 protocols amid the spiking cases.
“The NFL and NFLPA have been engaged with our medical advisers to address the emergence of the new Omicron variant and how to stop the spread to ensure we keep everyone safe and complete the remainder of the season responsibly,” the parties said in a joint statement on Sunday.
“The intensive protocols implemented last week and the rescheduling of three games were designed to stop the transmission of the virus and play this week’s games safely.
“After this weekend’s games, we have agreed to put into place a new set of protocols, which will include a more targeted testing plan, more flexibility for players to attend meetings virtually and also a high-risk player opt-out for the remainder of the season.”
According to the Rams, tickets purchased for the originally scheduled Sunday game will still be honored for Tuesday’s game. No refunds will be given, but fans who cannot make it are able to transfer, re-sell or donate their tickets on Account Manager.
Because of weekday rush-hour traffic, the Rams are encouraging fans to arrive at least 60 minutes prior to kickoff to ensure efficient entry. The Pink Zone parking lot will open at 11 a.m., while all other parking lots will open at noon. All stadium gates will open at 2 p.m.
Additionally, new rules announced by the Los Angeles County Department of Health for outdoor mega-events will be effective for the game. All attendees age 5 and older are required to provide proof of full vaccination, a negative COVID antigen test within 24 hours of the event, or a negative PCR test within 48 hours of the event.
Attendees can get tested on-site at SoFi Stadium at their own expense for $59. Testing will be available near Entry 5 and Entry 9 starting at noon, and may take over 30 minutes for a result.
The pandemic is having a wide impact on Southland sports teams, with UCLA, USC, Long Beach State and UC Irvine all having men’s basketball games either postponed or canceled. The NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks had games postponed.
In addition, Lakers coach Frank Vogel missed Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls after entering the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. The Lakers were also without Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley, Malik Monk, Austin Reaves and Kent Bazemore due to COVID-19 protocols.