The Cleveland Browns facility stays closed because the staff awaits extra COVID-19 check outcomes
BEREA, Ohio – The Cleveland Browns training facility remained closed Wednesday as the team and the NFL continued to conduct contact tracing and await additional COVID-19 test results.
The Browns announced Tuesday that head coach Kevin Stefanski had tested positive for COVID-19, making him unavailable for Sunday’s playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as deputy head coach on Sunday, and a source told ESPN to want offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt to name the offensive games instead of Stefanski.
Pro Bowl Guard Joel Bitonio also tested positive, Browns Center and NFLPA President JC Tretter confirmed Tuesday. Broad receiver KhaDarel Hodge, fullback coach Jeff Howard and tight-end coach Drew Petzing were the others who tested positive, a source told ESPN.
According to NFL rules, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must be off for at least 10 days, including coaches.
Although the training facility remains closed, the Browns continue to prepare virtually for the Steelers. A source told ESPN that the Browns are also awaiting the results of additional tests conducted on potential close high-risk contacts from the five positive test results.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Tuesday that the status of the game on Sunday night at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field will not change.
Brown’s star cornerback Denzel Ward, Harrison Bryant, linebackers Malcolm Smith and BJ Goodson, and security Andrew Sendejo clinched the playoff win over the Steelers last Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19. Nickelback Kevin Johnson was also put on the Reserve / COVID-19 list the day before the game.