CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have placed two more players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Linebacker Anthony Walker and punter Jamie Gillan were placed on the list on Thursday. Tight end David Njoku was placed on the list on Tuesday.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said Gillan is disappointed to be sidelined as he was looking forward to playing against the Ravens.
"He's very disappointed," Priefer said. "I just texted him to make sure he was doing okay. He's feeling a little under the weather, I'm sure, but he's just more disappointed. He was really looking forward to this Sunday."
With Gillan on the COVID-19 list, Priefer said they will likely sign a veteran punter with placeholding experience.
“We’re working through it. We’ve had a short list. We’ve always had a short list in case we have an injury or something happens. But Andrew [Berry] and his staff are working through that right now,” Priefer said. “There’s a few. Like I said, you always keep a short list and they’ll have me watch some tape a little bit later today to kind of compare guys and see what we think. The punting is important. The holding is important. All that is important.”
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods said that Elijah Lee, Malcolm Smith and Jacob Phillips are all possibilities to fill in for Walker. Phillips was recently designated for return from injured reserve but has not yet been activated as the team continues to monitor him.
“We have good depth at the position with Malcolm and Elijah Lee, and we're still seeing where Jacob is so there are some possibilities there, but I just feel comfortable with the guys we'll have available," Woods said. “We're going to evaluate that the next couple of days. As far as running around, [Phillips] looks healthy. He looks like he's capable. Just have to keep getting him in practice and getting that contact and see how it turns out.”
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.
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.
With the game just three days away, any vaccinated player on the COVID-19 list with no symptoms could come off with two negative tests 24 hours about, but the timeline is not promising for the Browns.
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