One day after losing to the Browns in their AFC wildcard game, the Pittsburgh Steelers confirmed they closed their facilities and have placed one player along with several other personnel in quarantine while contact tracing was taking place.
Cleveland Browns center, and NFL Players Association President J.C. Tretter, said on Tuesday he was not aware of how, or even if, that might impact the Browns as the team prepares for its playoff game against defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs.
“I don’t have any update on that on that at this point,” said Tretter during an NFL Players Association COVID update Tuesday afternoon. “I know we follow the same protocols we always will, and that’s contact tracing, finding if there’s any high-risk close contacts and then isolating them away from the group. So I’m not sure if that process is done, it usually takes some time, but I have yet to hear any update on where that stands.”
The Browns have been handcuffed by the virus especially late in the season and during their wildcard game in Pittsburgh.
Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski watched the Steelers game from his basement after testing positive for the virus. Joel Bitonio was also quarantined for the game.
The COVID-19 virus was also responsible for the closing of the Browns practice facility in the week leading up to the wildcard game.
On Monday, Stefanski said he expects to be able to return to the team as soon as this Thursday.
The NFL Players Association revealed on Tuesday the league has now administered nearly 950,000 COVID-19 tests to players and team personnel across the NFL this season.
With only eight teams left playing, including the Browns, the number of tests will be decreasing.
The Steelers are finished for the season but the closing of their facilities as of Monday prevented players from cleaning out their lockers and for the team to conduct exit interviews.
Tretter says after having played under the same COVID protocols through the 2020 season players, coaches, and team personnel across the league are well aware of the expectations and does not foresee any problems heading deeper into the playoffs.
“Myles Garrett has been very open about his struggles coming back from having COVID, so I think the guys understand how real this is, how important it is to stay healthy and do the things that will keep you healthy,” Tretter said. “I think we have had pretty good compliance in doing the right thing and understanding why it’s the right thing to do.”
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