CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – The Cleveland Browns’ “next man up” mentality will be put to the test this weekend.
More than a dozen players and coaches have tested positive for COVID-19.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield was added to the team’s COVID list Wednesday.
Case Keenum is now expected to start at quarterback Saturday.
The Cleveland Browns also confirmed Wednesday that head coach Kevin Stefanski has tested positive.
According to a statement from the Browns, Stefanski tested positive Wednesday morning and immediately isolated.
The team says he is asymptomatic and recently got his COVID-19 booster.
He will continue his head coaching duties virtually.
Stefanski held a press conference with the media late Wednesday morning.
“I don’t feel much different than I felt yesterday,” he said.
Stefanski will be eligible for Saturday’s game if he has two negative COVID-19 tests, which is standard NFL protocol for vaccinated team members. (More on that below.)
If he is not available for Saturday, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as acting head coach.
Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt would act as play caller.
“They guys proved last year they don’t need me,” Stefanski said.
Stefanski missed the Browns wildcard playoff game against the Steelers in Jan. 2021 following a positive COVID-19 test. The Browns won 48-37.
The team used the same coaching formula they’re planning to use on Saturday.
“We have plenty of time to get ready. We will be ready,” Priefer said in a press conference Wednesday.
Stefanski will be the head coach until kickoff, Priefer said.
Here is the current list of players who have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning:
- HC Kevin Stefanski
- Acting RB Coach Ryan Cordell
- QB Baker Mayfield
- WR Jarvis Landry
- CB Troy Hill
- DT Malik McDowell
- DE Ifeadi Odenigbo
- S John Johnson
- TE Austin Hooper
- OT Jedrick Wills
- G Wyatt Teller
- G Drew Forbes
- DE Takkarist McKinley
- WR Jojo Natson
- TE Ross Travis practice squad
NFL COVID vaccine rules
- Vaccinated individuals who test positive and are asymptomatic will be isolated and contact tracing will promptly occur.
- The positive individual will be permitted to return to duty after two negative tests at least 24-hours apart.
- After that, they will be tested every week or as directed by the medical staff.
- Vaccinated individuals will not be subject to quarantine as a result of close contact with an infected person.
According to the NFL’s 2021 COVID-Related Operating Principles, the game will not be postponed.
Reportedly, more than 75 NFL players have tested positive for COVID-19 this week.
Currently, the Raiders do not have anyone on the COVID list list.
Cleveland also began the week with 2 players out for concussion protocol: Cornerback Greg Newsom and wide receiver Anthony Schwartz.
RB Kareem Hunt did not practice this week due to an ankle injury.
Other Browns moves
Placed on practice squad/COVID-19
- S Nate Meadors
Signed to active roster from practice squad
- WR Ja’Marcus Bradley
Signed to practice squad
- TE Nick Guggemos
- WR Alexander Hollins
- T Elijah Nkansah
The Cleveland Browns (7-6) host the Las Vegas Raiders (6-7) at FirstEnergy Stadium at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.