NFL Finds COVID-19 Spread Within Browns

Jan. 8: There is finally some good news to report on the Browns’ COVID-19 situation. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that the only new positive test today was assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters, who had already been identified as a high risk close contact. Hopefully, this means that the spread has been contained.

The wildcard game against the Steelers remains scheduled for Sunday night.

Jan. 7: The Browns learned Thursday they will be without another starter against the Steelers. Ronnie Harrison tested positive for COVID-19, the Browns announced. The team will have another starting safety — Andrew Sendejo — back for its playoff opener, but the NFL has determined some coronavirus spread has occurred within the Browns.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said “there was some spread from one individual to another,” via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Previously, the league deemed the Browns’ virus issue as having resulted from a spread within the Cleveland-area community.

Despite the Browns being down head coach Kevin Stefanski, Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio and others, the game remains on schedule for Sunday night, Pelissero tweets. However, contact tracing is ongoing and intra-team spreads have triggered postponements this season.

The Steelers saw multiple games — against the Titans and Ravens — postponed because of COVID-19 spreading within those teams’ facilities. The NFL could face a decision soon. It is not out of the question the AFC North matchup is postponed, per the Washington Post’s Mark Maske, but a “bigger bump” in spread would need to happen (Twitter link).

Even in the event of a postponement of a day or two, the Browns would not have Stefanski or Bitonio back due to their positive tests occurring earlier this week. Cleveland also has key contributors Denzel Ward, Kevin Johnson, KhaDarel Hodge, Malcolm Smith and Harrison Bryant on its reserve/COVID-19 list. Ward could be activated in time for Sunday’s game but only if he has not encountered symptoms.

The Browns also placed linebacker Montrel Meander on the practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list but moved linebacker B.J. Goodson back onto their active roster after his stay on the COVID list. Harrison just returned to action, playing in Week 17 after missing several late-season games due to a shoulder injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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20 comments on “NFL Finds COVID-19 Spread Within Browns

    • CoolKidJoeXBL

      I assume because he would have an overview of the field instead of being on the sidelines.

    • MileHighFan

      If you can do play-by-play from a remote location you can also coach your team remotely.

    • fwitt58

      That would be the nfl’s answer. Except the raiders would get fined and lose a draft pick.

  1. Ak185

    I would rather see this postponed and then play a real game than trot out some hastily signed practice squad players and bomb in a one-sided affair. The NFL needs to realize that it’s “on schedule” obsession takes a back seat to its actual product, no matter what they want their earnings to look like.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I think the NFL is in a no win situation here. One sided affairs can occur even when both teams are at full strength. If games were only scheduled for when each team had a quality product to put on the field you might have to wait a year or two to see the Jets and Jags play again.

    • mbgutt

      Sorry why give the browns that kind of advantage and give the other teams time to recover. The game needs to be played on Sunday night with who ever is healthy and available

      • Ak185

        I mean, it’s hardly an advantage. It’s just asking to see their actual starters. Not to mention the risk of spread to the Steelers. Resting is not always helpful, especially for a wildcard team looking to build off their momentum. I’m not sure that the advantage is as great when the team can’t even practice. And while blowouts do happen, again, it would be okay if this were a normal game with normal starters. These are extenuating circumstances, and I just don’t get why the NFL refuses to treat them that way. A few days would be enough.

        • crosseyedlemon

          Goodell’s “integrity of the game” mantra becomes a complete joke if schedules are altered every time a team loses some valuable players. The league should only alter schedules when things like hurricanes make it necessary to do so.

  2. leefieux

    So,if you postpone it a day or two, when is the next round scheduled? It would be unfair to the winning team to play on 4-5 days rest.

    It’s a COVID year. Like when injuries occur, you don’t wait until everyone is healthy to play. Let those not quarantined have at it.

    • wagner13

      I believe the real concern is that the virus could be spread to the Steelers if the disease is still being transmitted within the Browns organization. A postponement would be more about player safety than getting infected athletes back on the field

  3. GodHatesCleveland

    How is this good news? The Browns lose more players to COVID and the game is still on. Might want to reconsider the first line of the article.

    • Prospectnvstr

      The “good news” is that the “only new positive test” was a coach & no more players tested positive. Reading is fundamental, or at least it used to be. Just saying…

  4. em650r

    If the Browns played the Steelers last week well then obviously the Browns got Covid from the Steelers

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