Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch will miss the first game of his 15-year career on Sunday as he remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
His absence will snap his streak of 239 consecutive games, which is third among active players behind Dallas Cowboys long snapper L.P. Ladouceur (252 games) and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (240).
The Ravens (10-5) face the Bengals (4-10-1) in Cincinnati at 1 p.m. ET with a berth in the AFC playoffs on the line.
Koch, 38, was a sixth-round pick by the Ravens in the 2006 NFL Draft. He is the only player to punt for the Ravens in the regular season since then.
Coach John Harbaugh said Koch is expected to be able to play next week should the Ravens advance to the postseason.
Taking Koch’s place will be Johnny Townsend, who spent some time with the Ravens in training camp and was signed this week.
Harbaugh said he expects Koch to be available next week should the Ravens make the playoffs.
Koch is averaging 44.5 yards per punt this season, a tick below his career average of 45.3.
Townsend, 25, played in 16 games with the Oakland Raiders in 2018, averaging 43.2 yards per punt, but hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since.
He also will be the holder for kicker Justin Tucker, and Harbaugh said he’s confident in his abilities.
“It worked out really well,” Harbaugh said. “He was in training camp for us. He had a very good understanding of how he operates as a punter and a holder. Also he knows what we like and what we want to do and understands our operation. We’re very happy to have him.”