OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Baltimore Ravens starting nose tackle Brandon Williams was put on the Reserve / COVID-19 list on Saturday.
Williams was put on the list after coming into close contact with someone who has COVID-19, a source confirmed to ESPN. He didn't test positive, the source said. According to the NFL / NFLPA protocol, Williams must isolate for five days after the initial exposure.
The Ravens, who traveled to Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon, are expected to do without two starting defenders against the Eagles on Sunday. Defensive ending Derek Wolfe (throat / concussion) is classified as doubtful.
Williams was a key figure in the Ravens' run defense. With him in the line-up since 2017 (47 games), Baltimore has kept teams at 87.2 yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry. In six games without Williams over that period, the Ravens have given up 160.3 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry.
Williams didn't train on Thursday and Friday for non-injury reasons. After Friday's practice session, coach John Harbaugh said Williams had "a personally excused absence".
On Thursday and Friday, Ravens players were seen wearing masks walking to the practice field, which they hadn't done before.
When asked a little over two weeks ago what it takes to avoid COVID-19, Williams said, "Do as much as you can to protect you and the family and the people you love. Sometimes, when you catch it, you catch it. Sometimes it's just what it is and it's inevitable. "
Justin Ellis is expected to replace Williams and make his first start since 2018. Jihad Ward or Justin Madubuike could stand up for Wolfe.
Williams is only the second Ravens player to be put on the reserve / COVID-19 list and the first since the training camp officially began.
The Ravens' defense currently leads the NFL on the fewest allowed points and gives up 15.2 points per game.