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5 Browns players will be cleared from reserve/COVID-19 list, 2 more added

Malcolm Smith, Denzel Ward added to COVID-19 list
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Posted at 12:15 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 17:21:02-05

CLEVELAND — Browns wide receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge and Donovan Peoples-Jones, and linebacker Jacob Phillips will be cleared from the reserve/COVID-19 list and will be able to practice Thursday if one is held, Head Coach Kevin Stefanski said during a news conference Thursday.

Those players, as well as linebacker B.J. Goodson, were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week before Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, leading to the Browns fumbling their first playoff chance in a 23-16 loss to the Jets, giving that team their second win this season.

Additionally, the Browns said that LB Malcolm Smith and CB Denzel Ward have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

According to the Browns, the "reserve list category was created for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons. Per agreed upon NFL-NFLPA policy, clubs are not permitted to comment on player’s medical status other than referring to roster status. Clubs may not disclose whether player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19."

The Browns chose to keep their facility closed Thursday after announcing earlier in the morning that two more players had tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the second shutdown of the facility this week.

“In light of today’s positive test results and after consulting with the NFL, we’ve decided to keep our facility closed for the day. As we’ve previously stated, the health and well-being of our players, coaches and staff is our highest priority and this decision was made with that in-mind. We will continue our preparation for the Steelers today remotely and hope to open our facility for practice tomorrow," the Browns said.

Practice or not, whether the Browns make their first playoffs since 2002 now comes down to Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the rival Steelers. While Goodson will have to sit out against Pittsburgh, the addition of the team’s sorely-missed wide receivers is welcome news to Browns fans.

Watch Stefanski's full news conference below: