CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns announced the team has activated wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Hodge was placed on the list on Jan. 5 after testing positive for the virus, forcing him to miss the Wild Card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Browns have relied on Hodge this season for game-changing plays and he’s delivered.
While he didn’t find the end zone this year, all 11 of Hodge’s receptions during the regular season resulted in a first down for Cleveland for a total of 180 receiving yards.
Hodge was placed on the list at the same time that head coach Kevin Stefanski was ruled out with COVID-19, and All-Pro veteran guard Joel Bitinio was also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Stefanski returned to the facility on Thursday but said there was no update on Bitonio’s status on the reserve/COVID-19 list, although he could be eligible to be cleared from the list, per NFL COVID-19 protocols.
Players who are asymptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday or earlier would be eligible to play in the playoff game Sunday, because 10 days would have passed since the positive test, as long as they pass a cardiac screen, according to NFL COVID-19 protocol.
Any player with symptoms would have to wait 10 days from when symptoms were first reported and have had at least 24 hours without fever. Other symptoms also would have to have improved in that time for the player to be cleared.
"Getting Joel back obviously would be big and hopefully that will be the case, we'll see here later in the week," said Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. "Joel's a huge part of our success offensively on that left side and to plug him back in there would be huge for us."
The Browns continue preparing for the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs as they are set to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon.