Browns hit with coronavirus before first playoff game in nearly two decades

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The Cleveland Browns are in a tough predicament. But just because it’s playoff time, the show must go on.

The NFL did not allow the Detroit Lions to postpone their day after Christmas game. The Lions missed much of their coaching staff due to the coronavirus.

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski speaking with quarterback Baker Mayfield against the Pittsburgh Steelers
Kevin Stefanski speaking with quarterback Baker Mayfield against the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Matt Starkey/Cleveland Browns)

On Tuesday, the Browns announced that they’ll be without three coaches for their upcoming playoff game on Sunday night. In addition, two players will not play in the game after testing positive for the virus.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski has tested positive for the virus. It’s not clear who the other two coaches are that also tested positive for the coronavirus.

With Stefanski not able to coach in the game, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer has been named acting head coach for the game against the Steelers Sunday night on NBC. This will be Priefer’s first head coaching opportunity in the NFL.

“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,” the Browns said in a statement. “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.”

Right now, it does not appear like the league will move the game. That means the coaches and players, who are eligible to play, will participate in the playoff game on Sunday.

“If any players or personnel are identified as such, they would remain apart from the team and facilities for five days from the last exposure to a positive individual,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement. “They would be eligible to return to the team and play in the game.”

The Browns are making their first playoff game since the 2002 season. And due to a virus, their chances of winning the game may have taken a hit.

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