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Browns place CB Denzel Ward, LB Malcolm Smith on Reserve/COVID-19 list

Team makes additional roster moves
Denzel Ward
Posted at 11:50 AM, Jan 08, 2022

CLEVELAND — With the final game of the season approaching the Cleveland Browns placed two players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, activated another player from the list and made other roster moves before Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

On Saturday morning, the Browns placed cornerback Denzel Ward and linebacker Malcolm Smith on the COVID-19 list. Ward and Smith join running back Dexter Williams, safety Jovante Moffatt, defensive end Joe Jackson, kicker Chris Blewitt and defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who was placed on the list Thursday.

While the Browns placed Ward and Smith on the COVID-19 list, they also were able to activate running back D'Ernest Johnson from the list Saturday. Johnson was placed on the list Tuesday.

Additionally, the Browns made several elevations ahead of Sunday's game.

Cornerback back Brian Allen, safety Adrian Colbert and guard Hjalte Froholdt were elevated to the active roster from the practice squad. Cornerback Herb Miller and defensive end Curtis Weaver were called up from the practice squad to the active roster as COVID-19 replacements.

The elevations are part of a rule allowing a team to carry up to 55 players on the roster during a given week before the transaction deadline ahead of a game, giving the team a larger pool to choose from when selecting their 47 or 48 gameday active players. Following the game, the players elevated to the active roster for that purpose will revert back to the practice squad the day after the game.

Cleveland also waived linebacker Willie Harvey Jr.

With the Browns eliminated from playoff contention in Week 17, their final game won't get them any closer to a postseason, or a winning record for that matter. But head coach Kevin Stefanski said that starters who can physically play will, and the team has made it clear they still have at least one thing to play for—each other.

"What's there to play for?’ That's not even in our vocabulary. I don't understand what that even means," said quarterback Case Keenum, who will start Sunday with Baker Mayfield on injured reserve and preparing for shoulder surgery. "Like I said before, this is the National Football League. You have guys in this locker room, myself included and I can speak for myself, who we have been dreaming about playing in the NFL since we were kids, all of us. It's a dream come true to be able to go out there and represent not only the name on the back of our jerseys – our family’s – but the name on the front. There's a lot of pride. There's a lot of pride in Cleveland. I've experienced that in the short two years that I've been here. We have a lot of pride, and we have a lot of things to play for."

Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.

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