The Cleveland Browns will face the New England Patriots without star Nick Chubb and pass-catching back Demetric Felton on Sunday due to positive COVID-19 tests.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski announced on Friday that both full-backs would miss Sunday’s game.
Cleveland placed Chubb and Felton on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. The two running backs have been vaccinated, giving them the chance to be acquitted this week with two negative tests 24 hours apart. Stefanski’s announcement on Friday destroys that glimmer of hope.
Fourth-string RB John Kelly is also on the COVID-19 list and will not play, according to Stefanski.
With Kareem Hunt still on reserve with a calf injury, D’Ernest Johnson is the only one to fall back on the active roster.
In Week 7 against the Denver Broncos, with both Chubb and Hunt out with injury, Johnson shone, taking 22 passes for 146 yards and a TD and catching two passes for 22 yards. The ground-and-pound Browns will once again lean heavily on Johnson against a Patriots defense that ranks 14th in the NFL versus the run.
“I think we’ve talked about him in recent games, and he showed in that game in Denver where he had to carry the burden, and he did a good job,” Stefanski said. “So our expectations for that room don’t change.”
Cleveland signed running backs Brian Hill and Dexter Williams to the practice squad this week and could be promoted to the roster ahead of Sunday’s game in New England.