Baker Mayfield is latest member of Browns to test positive for the coronavirus
The Cleveland Browns’ coronavirus outbreak has widened and worsened.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield and coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive Wednesday and could miss the Browns’ game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday.
While this is on a larger scale, the Browns dealt with a similar outbreak late last season. Stefanski tested positive on the eve of Cleveland’s playoff appearance and watched the Browns beat rival Pittsburgh in an AFC wild-card game from his basement at home.
“We’ve been here before,” Stefanski said. “Next man up.”
Stefanski’s positive test was first announced by the team, which then put Mayfield, starting safety John Johnson III, nickelback Troy Hill, starting defensive tackle Malik McDowell and defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Rams announce Odell Beckham Jr. is among nine Rams placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. Tyler Higbee is activated after false positive.
The news came a day after the team placed eight players — including top wide receiver Jarvis Landry, starting offensive linemen Wyatt Teller and Jedrick Wills Jr. and tight end Austin Hooper, all of whom tested positive Tuesday — on the COVID-19 list.
It’s hardly an ideal situation heading into a crucial game for the Browns (7-6), who have been inconsistent all season and are preparing for their matchup with the Raiders (6-7) on a short week — and may not be able to have a full practice this week.
Despite the outbreak in Cleveland, an NFL spokesman said there’s been “no discussion of changing the game’s status.”
The league said before the season that no games would be postponed because of COVID-19 outbreaks and that forfeits could be in play for an outbreak among unvaccinated players.
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Last week, the Browns were missing three key players due to coronavirus positives: tight end David Njoku, linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. and punter Jamie Gillan. Their status for this week remains uncertain.
In all, Cleveland has 18 players and two coaches on the COVID-19 list.
To hopefully mitigate any more spread, the Browns are holding three separate walk-through practices outdoors — with players wearing masks — on Wednesday and closing them to the media.
“We’ll be outside, masked up, spread out, and the guys will go from the parking lot right onto the field,” Stefanski said.
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