NFL: Browns will practice Friday; John Brown returns for Bills

Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward celebrates after the Browns defeated the Houston Texans on Nov. 15, 2020.
Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward, celebrating after the Browns defeated the Houston Texans on Nov. 15, will miss Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Steelers
(Ron Schwane / Associated Press)

The Cleveland Browns have reopened their facility and will practice after a succession of COVID-19 interruptions this week.

The team will be without several players, including top cornerback Denzel Ward, on Sunday when the Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers. A win puts Cleveland in the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2002.

The Browns did not have any new positive COVID-19 tests on Friday, and after getting league approval, they will practice indoors at 1 p.m. They canceled practice Thursday and kept their building closed to determine whether there was a virus outbreak.


To this point, they’ve only practiced for one hour on the field as they prepare for their biggest game in years.

Last week, the Browns played without their four leading receivers and lost to the New York Jets. Those players, who were ruled out as high-risk close contacts, were activated Thursday and are expected to play Sunday.

Cleveland will be without Ward, starting linebacker B.J. Goodson, safety Andrew Sendejo and tight end Harrison Bryant when it faces Pittsburgh, which will sit starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and others so they’re rested for the playoffs.

The Steelers beat the Browns 38-7 in their previous matchup this season

Brown back for Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills have activated three players from their reserve-COVID-19 list: wide receiver John Brown, safety Josh Thomas and running back Christian Wade. Thomas and Wade are back on the practice squad.

Brown, who led the Bills in yards receiving last year, missed one game on the COVID-19 list and the previous four on injured reserve with a knee issue. He’s been limited to playing eight games after also hurting his ankle earlier this season.


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Brown’s return coincides with wideout Cole Beasley’s status being uncertain due to a knee injury sustained in the fourth quarter against New England on Monday night. The Bills host Miami on Sunday and already have clinched the AFC East title.

Giant’ coach tests positive

New York Giants offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has tested positive for COVID-19. The team said Friday he was immediately isolated, as were two unidentified potential close contacts.

Coach Joe Judge said the contacts were staff and coaches, not players. Assistant line coach Ben Wilkerson will handle the line Sunday when the Giants (5-10) host the Dallas Cowboys (6-10). Both teams have a chance to win the NFC East if Washington (6-9) loses at Philadelphia on Sunday night.

DeGuglielmo was able to work with the line virtually in a morning walk-through, Judge said. DeGuglielmo joined the Giants in midseason and was promoted to offensive line coach when Marc Colombo was fired.