Veteran Kendall Lamm is expected to start in place of Wills, who was just activated on Saturday from the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
LT Jedrick Wills had been downgraded to out due to illness.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 27, 2020
Wills flew to New Jersey on Saturday separately from the rest of the Browns and today’s move is reportedly not COVID-19 related.
#Browns Jedrick Wills downgraded to out because of an illness. Not positive for COVID-19— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) December 27, 2020
The Browns will now face the Jets without two of their starting offensive linemen as right guard Wyatt Teller was ruled out earlier in the week with an ankle injury suffered in last week’s win against the New York Giants. Rookie Nick Harris will start in place of Teller.
Cleveland will also be without its top four wide receivers for the game after Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge were all ruled out on Saturday for being labeled as high-risk, close contacts of linebacker B.J. Goodson, who was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday.
Linebacker Jacob Phillips was also nicked as a high-risk, close contact, so he will miss today’s game as well, taking out two members of Cleveland’s linebacker rotation.
All five players reportedly came into contact with Goodson at the team’s recovery pool area at team headquarters in Berea, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. There is also reportedly video of at least one of the players not wearing their mask correctly during a separate interaction.
Being in the pool area was not the issue, but rather other factors, according to Pelissero:
Sharing the recovery pool — which includes a hot and cold tub — isn’t itself a violation of COVID protocols. But the NFL’s medical experts look at cumulative time, distance, mask use and ventilation in the area where exposure occurred to any positive individual, and if the threshold is exceeded in two or more of those four categories, it’s labeled a high-risk close contact.
To fill the void at wide receiver, the Browns will have Marvin Hall, who has yet to play since being claimed off waivers two weeks ago, and Ja’Marcus Bradley and Derrick Willies, who were promoted from the practice squad on Saturday.
That trio has combined to catch 39 passes for 821 yards and five touchdowns in the NFL, with all but three of those catches and 61 of those yards coming from Hall.