Browns Joel Bitonio, Kevin Stefanski Test Positive For COVID-19

The Browns are going to the playoffs, but they’ll be without some of their key cast members. Head coach Kevin Stefanski and left guard Joel Bitonio have both tested positive for COVID-19 (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge has also tested positive with five cases in total from the latest round. 

The Browns-Steelers game is still scheduled to go ahead, with the belief that the Browns’ newest cases are the result of community spread, rather than a full-on facility outbreak. With Stefanski keeping his distance, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as the acting head coach. Meanwhile, Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt is expected to call the plays.

Bitonio, of course, is a big loss for the Browns. The three-time Pro Bowler has been a rock throughout his seven-year career, despite constant instability in Cleveland. This year, he’s continued his excellent work while mentoring promising rookie Jedrick Wills. In his place, the Browns will be forced to turn to Michael Dunn or rookie Nick Harris — neither backup can block like Bitonio.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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8 comments on “Browns Joel Bitonio, Kevin Stefanski Test Positive For COVID-19

  1. bucketheadsdad

    Browns line up again to receive the proverbial “long end of a short stick.”

    Red Right 88
    The Drive
    The Fumble
    The “PanDAMNic”

  2. bumpy93

    I feel absolutely horrible for the browns they’ve been trying to get their stuff together you know they finally make the playoffs for first time 18 years fans are excited then this it’s just unbelievable the luck is franchise has or the lack thereof still hopefully the browns can pull an upset in Pittsburgh that’d be a great story.

  3. fwitt58

    What I don’t understand is the browns have closers thier facilities how many times in the last few weeks. And had more players go on the COVID list and tested positive. But the league has not fined them or taken any draft picks away like other teams.

    • Michael Chaney

      Because other teams have blatantly broken the rules and the Browns have just had bad luck. It’s as simple as that.

      The Titans held private practices when they were supposed to be isolating, and the Ravens’ outbreak started from a coach who didn’t report symptoms and didn’t follow protocols.

  4. Ak185

    Talk about bad luck. More of Kareem Hunt coming out of the backfield to compensate?

  5. wagner13

    As a Steelers fan, I guarantee Pittsburgh will mess up this absolutely ideal situation.

    In all seriousness, it really is a shame. You always want to play rivals at full strength

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