BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns are facing a tough challenge preparing for their Saturday game against the Las Vegas Raiders as they've placed eight players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, many of them key offensive players.
The #Browns are placing the following players on the COVID-19 list:— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) December 14, 2021
Placed on reserve/COVID-19:
- G Drew Forbes
- TE Austin Hooper
- WR Jarvis Landry
- DE Takkarist McKinley
- G Wyatt Teller
- T Jedrick Wills
Placed on practice squad/COVID-19:
- WR JoJo Natson
- TE Ross Travis
Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski said the players will be tested daily for COVID-19, but he doesn't know for how long. The team is educating players on the importance of the booster shot. Additionally, Stefanski confirmed he has received his.
When asked about the challenge of potentially missing so many offensive linemen, Stefanski responded, "Guys step up and that's what the NFL is about...that's why we have a bunch of players on this team that we trust."
Stefanski said they "certainly trust" Michael Dunn and Blake Hance and they'll work out preparations for the line. He also expects expects Harrison Bryant and Ronnie Harrison to practice on Wednesday. Both have been working through ankle injuries.
The Browns had already placed tight end David Njoku, linebacker Anthony Walker and punter Jamie Gillan on the COVID-19 list last week. They have not been cleared to return at this time and Stefanski said he didn't have an update on those players.
Per NFL and NFLPA policy, teams can not comment on a player's medical status other than referring to their roster status and can not disclose whether a player is in quarantine or is positive for the virus.
The Browns are already thin in the tight end room with Harrison Bryant dealing with a high ankle sprain. If a vaccinated player tests positive for COVID-19 they must immediately isolate but can rejoin the team if they remain symptom-free and have two negative tests 24 hours apart. If symptomatic, the vaccinated player has to remain in isolation until asymptomatic for 48 hours and has two negative tests.
If an unvaccinated player tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate for a minimum of 10 days, even if they are asymptomatic. They can not return until 10 days have passed and 24 hours have passed since the last fever and other symptoms have improved, with clearance from the team physician.
According to the NFL's policy, fully vaccinated players who are close contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will not be designated as a regular "high-risk close contact," but can be held to daily testing for five days after exposure if deemed a “high risk vaccinated contact” and must wear a mask indoors for that five-day period.
Players who are not fully vaccinated who are deemed “high-risk close contacts" must isolate immediately and are not permitted to return to their team's facility or interact with other team employees and players for at least five days after the last exposure to the infected individual and must be monitored for symptoms while continuing daily PCR testing, per NFL policy.
While receiving positive COVID-19 earlier in the week is promising for vaccinated players to be cleared in time to play, the short week with the game on Saturday makes the news even less than ideal for the Browns.
The Browns are also dealing with several injuries that will sideline other key players. Running back Kareem Hunt and cornerback Troy Hill are unlikely to play Saturday due to injuries. Cornerback Greg Newsome II is still in concussion protocol, as is wide receiver Anthony Schwartz.
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