CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns take on the Las Vegas Raiders inside FirstEnergy Stadium Monday evening, and after a postponement amid a league-wide COVID-19 outbreak, they'll do so with a few key defensive players back in the mix, but not with the much-hoped-for-return of quarterbacks Baker Mayfield or Case Keenum.
On Monday, the Browns activated safety John Johnson III from the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
The following players have been activated from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements:
- CB Brian Allen
- G Hjalte Froholdt
- DE Joe Jackson
- RB John Kelly
- CB Herb Miller
- S Jovante Moffatt
- S Tedric Thompson
Under new requirements outlined by the NFL and NFLPA, vaccinated, asymptomatic players and staff who test positive for the virus now have more ways to "test out" of quarantine.
Those new rules, established Thursday, had already allowed defensive end Takk McKinley to be cleared from the list on Saturday after testing positive on Tuesday, as well as right guard Wyatt Teller, who was cleared on Sunday after testing positive Tuesday.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield, who tested positive on Wednesday, took to Instagram Sunday, sharing that he was asymptomatic and "praying for a negative COVID test." With Mayfield or backup Case Keenum unable to be cleared from the list, third-string quarterback Nick Mullens will get the start with recently re-signed Kyle Lauletta as his backup.
Defense gets some help
The Browns' secondary was one of the harder-hit areas of the roster during the COVID-19 outbreak, with all of the Browns starting safeties ending up on the list, as well as cornerbacks Troy Hill and A.J. Green.
With Johnson back on the active roster, the Browns enter Monday's game at less of a disadvantage than if the game was played on Saturday as originally scheduled.
And that's good news for a Browns team who, with a win on Monday, would find themselves at the top of the AFC North standings and their playoff aspirations more promising than ever.
The bad news is that there are still 22 players who remain on the COVID-19 list.
Browns who remain on the COVID-19 list
James Hudson III
Tony Fields II
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