CLEVELAND — While the Browns remained hopeful that two of their running backs would have a chance to play on Sunday on the road against the New England Patriots, those hopes came to an end Friday with head coach Kevin Stefanski announcing Nick Chubb, Demetric Felton and John Kelly would not be cleared to play.
Chubb and Felton tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday, one day after Kelly was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
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.
The team was hopeful with Chubb and Felton being vaccinated that they had a chance to play if they had two negative tests 24 hours apart. Those hopes did not pan out.
With Chubb, Felton and Kelly all ruled out for Sunday's game, D'Ernest Johnson will get his second start of the season. In his first start, Johnson helped the Browns get a win against Denver with 146 rushing yards on 22 carries, and 22 receiving yards on two catches, gashing the Broncos defense, getting his first NFL touchdown and earning the NFL's FedEx Ground Player of the Week award.
Johnson was deemed a close contact of the other running backs with COVID-19, but he is vaccinated and has tested negative, allowing him to practice all week and play on Sunday.
While the Browns ruled out their running backs on the COVID-19 list, the team is still hopeful they'll have linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah back from the injured reserve list.
Owusu-Koramoah was designated to return from the injured reserve list Wednesday after missing the last three games with a high ankle sprain and can be activiated for Sunday's game any time before 4 p.m. Saturday.
Stefanski said that they'll keep monitoring Owusu-Koramoah and make the decision closer to the 4 p.m. deadline Saturday.
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