CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns closed their facility Saturday morning after another member of the coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19 and several hours later made several corresponding roster moves as they prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday with the playoffs on the line.
The Browns announced offensive line coach Bill Callahan and assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters will not coach in Sunday's game due to COVID-19 protocols. As a result, the team announced coaching assistant Ryan Cordell will take over the offensive line’s game day coaching responsibilities.
On Friday, the team announced that wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea would not be coaching on Sunday after a coach tested positive for COVID-19 that morning. Head coach Kevin Stefanski announced that Chief of Staff Callie Brownson will take over O’Shea’s game day responsibilities.
While losing three important pieces of their coaching staff, the Browns got some good news heading into their game Sunday with the return of a key to their defense.
Days after placing him on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Browns announced that safety Karl Joseph was activated from the list on Saturday.
Joseph has been a spark in the Browns secondary this season, playing in 13 games and recording 60 tackles, 30 of which have been solo, two tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
The Browns defense took a hit after several players tested positive for COVID-19. Linebackers Malcolm Smith and B.J. Goodson, cornerback Denzel Ward and safety Andrew Sendejo remain on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but Joseph’s return supplies a major boost in a must-win game.
The Browns also elevated several players from the practice squad ahead of the Steelers game.
Guard Cordel Iwuagwu was a standard elevation while linebacker Montrel Meander and tackle Alex Taylor were elevated as COVID-19 replacements.
As the Browns make their roster move, the Steelers are doing the same, announcing several starters will not participate in Sunday’s game and will remain in Pittsburgh.
On Saturday, Steelers star linebacker T.J. Watt as well as defensive tackle Cam Heyward and center Maurkice Pouncey were ruled out for Sunday’s game. Pittsburgh had previously ruled out quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, kicker Chris Boswell and safety Terrell Edmunds.
Pittsburgh also placed former Browns cornerback Joe Haden, as well as tight end Eric Ebron and linebacker Cassius Marsh on the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, sidelining them from Sunday's game.
Should the Browns win on Sunday, the team will find itself in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. If they lose, however, they’ll be watching scoreboards and hoping one of the several other scenarios that would get them to a postseason plays out in their favor.
Still, the easiest way to ensure a postseason is, as the team has said throughout the week: “Win and we’re in.”