Tyler Huntley has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and Lamar Jackson didn't travel with the team to Cincinnati, meaning Josh Johnson will be the Ravens' starting quarterback in Sunday's crucial game against the Bengals that will decide first place in the AFC North with two games to go.
Jackson has not made enough progress with his ankle to play after suffering the injury on Dec. 12 in Cleveland. He hasn't practiced since the injury. Huntley, who has thrived in relief of Jackson three times this season, was in line to play but was ill and didn't practice Friday, then went on the COVID-list a day later.
The Ravens signed Johnson 10 days ago just in case of this scenario. The 35-year-old journeyman has played in 36 games with eight starts over his seven years in the NFL.
Since entering the league in 2008, Johnson has played for 13 different NFL teams, including for four (49ers, Bengals, Jets, Ravens) at least twice. He was last with the Ravens in 2016, spending the summer practicing with Baltimore before being released at the end of training camp.
The last time Johnson won a game was in 2018 when he started for Washington and beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 16-13, after going 16-of-25 for 151 yards and one touchdown. He has also played in the United Football League (UFL), XFL and Alliance of American Football (AAF).
"I've known Josh since he played with my brother at the University of San Diego, many moons ago," Head Coach John Harbaugh said after the Ravens signed Johnson. "That shows you what a credit it is to Josh's career.
"He's played in this league a long time. He's very reliable. It was great having him here in 2016. He's one of the best guys you ever want to be around. Where he's played, he's played well. To bring him in here, all things considered, the potential to need him this week, the potential for the rest of the season, it just makes sense to bring him in."
The Ravens' fourth-string quarterback on the practice squad, Chris Streveler, is also on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Baltimore activated undrafted rookie Kenji Bahar from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement to serve as the backup. Bahar has not seen any NFL action.
Baltimore did get some good news on the Reserve/COVID-19 front, as wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been activated off the list. Starting safety Chuck Clark also came off the list Friday.
The Ravens still have nine players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list from the 53-man roster, and they will all not be able to play in Cincinnati: outside linebackers Justin Houston and Pernell McPhee, cornerbacks Chris Westry and Jimmy Smith, inside linebackers Chris Board and Kristian Welch, defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, safety Geno Stone and tight end Josh Oliver.
Baltimore activated rookie outside linebacker Daelin Hayes from injured reserve. That gives the Ravens defense 17 players currently on the 53-man roster.
The Ravens activated nine players from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements: Bahar, defensive back Robert Jackson, safety Tony Jefferson, tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith, nose tackle Isaiah Mack, defensive tackle/guard Khalil McKenzie, safety Jordan Richards, linebacker Joe Thomas and cornerback Daryl Worley. Tight end Tony Poljan was also activated from the practice squad with a standard gameday elevation.