Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback and the National Football League’s reigning Most Valuable Player, on Thursday became the highest-profile player to test positive for the coronavirus as an outbreak of cases spread to more than a dozen players on the team, according to several media outlets.
The cluster of new cases threatened to upend the team’s next game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which the league had already moved to Sunday afternoon from Thanksgiving night.
The league said on Thursday night that the game would still be played Sunday. But if not, it could create a cascade effect for the league’s schedule makers, who had already shifted more than a dozen games so far this season because of the virus and appear to have little wiggle room in the 16-game schedule for further postponements.
The N.F.L. Network reported that Jackson, 23, whom the team selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, had tested positive for the virus.
The team did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday night. On Wednesday, the team announced that it had disciplined a staff member for “conduct surrounding” the cases that had affected the players and team employees. The Ravens did not identify the staff member or elaborate on the nature of the misconduct.
In contrast to some of the other major North American professional sports leagues, the N.F.L. opted not to use a so-called bubble model with teams playing games in isolation at one or two locations this season. So far, dozens of players and team employees across the league have tested positive for the virus.