Browns’ COVID-19 concerns grow with 2 more positive tests

The Browns’ COVID-19 issues aren’t easing

CLEVELAND — The Browns’ COVID-19 issues aren’t easing.

Cleveland closed its facility and delayed practice for the second straight day after two more players tested positive with the virus. The team’s latest COVID situation has further impacted the Browns’ ability to prepare for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A win will put the Browns in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Steelers are resting several starters, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is 23-2-1 in his career against Cleveland.

An NFL spokesman said the status for the game has not changed while standard contact tracing continues.

Last week, the Browns were without eight players, including their top four wide receivers, in a 23-16 loss to the New York Jets that rocked Cleveland’s playoff chances. The wide receivers have continued to test negatively and are eligible to return to practice Thursday.

The Browns were getting ready to leave for the New York area last week when linebacker B.J. Goodson tested positive and the four wide receivers were ruled out because they were deemed high-rick close contacts to their teammate.

One of the new COVID-19 cases is a player who was already on the reserve list. The other player practiced Wednesday.

Cleveland also has an unidentified assistant coach who tested positive.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is scheduled to meet with the media on a Zoom call before practice to address the virus situation.

The team has 11 players on the COVID list, including receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge, safeties Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph, linebackers Goodson and Jacob Phillips and tight end Harrison Bryant.

There are also two practice squad players on the list.

Goodson and Sendejo tested positive with the virus and will miss Sunday’s game. The others are considered high-risk contacts and could return if they continue to test negative.

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