The Browns will make their first playoff appearance in nearly two decades without their head coach.
The Browns announced Tuesday that head coach Kevin Stefanski, two coaching staff and two players have tested positive for COVID-19, leaving them out in this weekend’s Cleveland game against Pittsburgh.
We were informed this morning that head coach Kevin Stefanski, two additional coaching staff and two players have tested positive for COVID-19.
Our contingency planning involves Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer as interim head coach. pic.twitter.com/Mhh9Zt1e4d
– Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 5, 2021
By ESPN’s Adam Schefter, a defensive back coach, tight ends coach, wide receiver and offensive lineman have all landed on the COVID-19 list. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that TE coach Drew Petzing and DB coach are the two positive coaches, while NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that offensive lineman Joel Bitonio and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge are the players who have tested positive.
MORE: Explaining the NFL’s COVID-19 Rules
In addition to HC Kevin Stefanski tested positive, here are the Browns’ other COVID issues:
A DB coach (Mesa test today) and TE coach (Mesa test today). A WR and OL (Mesa tests today). https://t.co/i7USJ6PCtW
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 5, 2021
#Browns Coach Kevin Stefanski is asymptomatic. It will practically train during the week for #Steelists but must miss the game. TE coach Drew Petzing and DB coach Jeff Howard are to be seated. 1 of the 2 new players who tested positive is significant https://t.co/JY40WOWPsc
– Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 5, 2021
#Browns LG Joel Bitonio and WR KhaDarel Hodge have tested positive for COVID-19, the sources say.
– Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 5, 2021
The Browns’ facilities will be closed while the league conducts its contact tracing protocols.
The Browns were without their wide receiving body in their Week 16 game against the Jets after the COVID-19 protocol violation.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield spent time on the COVID-19 roster earlier in the season, but was activated after a few days.
Here is the latest news on Stefanski’s status for this weekend:
Will Kevin Stefanski coach against the Steelers?
Unless Stefanski’s positive test is in fact a false positive, he likely won’t be coaching this weekend as the league conducts its contact tracing process. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says Stefanski will miss this Sunday’s game.
The team announced that two additional coaching staff and two players have also tested positive for COVID-19.
As part of Cleveland’s COVID contingency plans, special teams coach Mike Priefer will act as the team’s head coach in the interim.
The Browns ended the league’s longest playoff drought by beating wild-round opponents, the Steelers, in Week 17.