Cleveland Browns coach Stefanski, 2 key players test positive for COVID-19; no change to status of playoff game

Cleveland Browns coach Stefanski, 2 key players test positive for COVID-19;

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland Browns announced on Tuesday morning that head coach Kevin Stefanski, two critical offensive players, and two additional staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

The organization released a statement regarding the positive tests, which comes just days before Sunday’s playoff game and 18 years to the day since Cleveland’s last playoff appearance.:

“The Cleveland Browns were informed this morning that Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, two additional members of the coaching staff and two players have tested positive for COVID-19. Our facility is currently closed while contact tracing is taking place. The team will continue to consult with the league and medical experts to determine the appropriate next steps as the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and the entire community remains our highest priority. Our contingency planning calls for Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer to serve as the acting Head Coach.”

The team said, at this time, Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as acting head coach for Sunday night’s playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in place of Stefanski.

According to the NFL Network, a wide receiver and offensive lineman are the two position players who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Per league policy, the two players that tested positive will miss at least 10 days with the team, which would include Sunday’s 8:15 p.m. game in Pittsburgh.

Who's in and who's out for Cleveland's playoff game? The latest regarding the Browns' COVID-19 situation

Who's in and who's out for Cleveland's playoff game? The latest regarding the Browns' COVID-19 situation

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

An NFL spokesperson told the Associated Press there there is no change to the status of Sunday’s game.

It’s unclear if any additional players will be placed on the COVID-19 reserve list as a result of the positive tests, but those who may be identified as individuals who came in close contact to someone with a coronavirus infection must remain apart from the team for at least five days.

In last week’s matchup against the Steelers, Cleveland was without six players who tested positive for the coronavirus, which included Denzel Ward and several other key defensive playmakers.

Star defensive end Myles Garrett also missed several games mid-season because of a COVID-19 infection and reports still experiencing difficulty breathing due to the virus since returning to the field.

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