The Cleveland Browns continue to deal with COVID-19 issues ahead of Sunday’s pivotal matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The club later confirmed there were two positive tests, noting the team will work remotely this morning.
“The Cleveland Browns were informed of two additional positive COVID-19 test results among our players this morning,” the team said in a statement. “The Browns facility is currently closed while contact tracing is conducted to identify any high-risk close contacts. The team will continue to work remotely this morning while following the NFL-NFLPA intensive protocols as the health and safety of our team, staff and the entire community remains our highest priority.”
As happened Wednesday, the Browns hope to get through contact tracing in time to resume practice Thursday afternoon.
Pelissero noted that one of the Browns players who tested positive was a high-risk close contact with someone outside the building. The latest results mean at least four players — linebacker B.J. Goodson and safety Andrew Sendejo are two others — won’t be available Sunday against the Steelers. Contact tracing and further testing will determine if any others are ruled out, too.
On the plus side for Cleveland, the club will get back the four receivers (Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge) and linebacker Jacob Phillips who missed last week’s game as close contacts today if practice can resume. All five players will come off the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters.
A win Sunday against division rival Pittsburgh would get the Browns to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
In the NFC, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis is away from the team as a precaution due to a high-risk close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per sources informed. He is working virtually, Rapoport added.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has been working virtually this week after contact with someone outside the facility who is believed to be a false positive for COVID-19, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported, per sources. Bowles has no symptoms and negative tests, and the team expects him back before Sunday.
The Atlanta Falcons announced they will conduct business virtually today after one positive COVID-19 test from a member of the team.