BEREA, Ohio – With a spate of players ending up on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Cleveland Browns have implemented improved COVID-19 protocols to try to eliminate any spread of the virus around the facility.
On Monday, the Browns placed running back John Kelly on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and wide receiver Lawrence Cager on the Practice Squad/COVID-19 list. The next day, running backs Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton tested positive for the virus. Shortly after, they were placed on the COVID-19 list.
Both players have been vaccinated, so their status for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots remains in doubt.
With John Kelly on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Browns have only one running back: D’Ernest Johnson. Johnson is a close contact, but he is vaccinated. He can exercise, but must be tested daily.
On Wednesday, the Browns also placed center Nick Harris on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski said that after Harris was listed there were no other positive tests to report for the day.
But with more cases emerging, there is a greater chance the virus will spread across the roster, or affect players or coaches deemed to have close contacts. That’s why the Browns have implemented their improved COVID-19 protocols.
Under the improved measures, all meetings have been moved to a virtual setting, with media availability and team and player meetings via Zoom.
The team also mandates that all players, coaches and staff wear masks at all times in the facility. Stefanski said the cafeteria has also been closed at the facility to prevent people from congregating and eating indoors in an environment that does not allow masking.
Most importantly, the team is conducting daily tests for all players, vaccinated and unvaccinated, with the Mesa nasal swabs to ensure any positive results are flagged quickly to prevent further spread.
The Browns have seen this before, even on a larger scale, when the team lost nearly all of their wide reception space after a large number of players were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list just before the team left for their game against the New York Jets. .
While the Browns have seen nearly the entire running backs room currently sidelined due to COVID_19, Stefanski said the advantage of this situation is that it doesn’t happen last minute like last season, giving them time to get on with a solid plan to come.
“We just have to be problem solvers,” Stefanski said. “We’ll see who’s available to us. We have contingency plans. We just have to deal with it day by day.”
The Browns will remain vigilant about their COVID-19 protocols throughout the week as they prepare for a grueling road test, taking on the New England Patriots Sunday at Gillette Stadium, looking for their first win on the road. that field since 1992.
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