The Cleveland Browns received some good news on Wednesday as the club activated cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson from the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Ward and Johnson both missed the previous two games as the Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season finale and then again in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
We’ve made the following roster moves:— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 13, 2021
Activated from Reserve/COVID-19:
CB Kevin Johnson
CB Denzel Ward
The return of Ward and Johnson comes at an opportune time as the Browns start their preparations for Sunday’s Divisional Round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, who were the league’s top-ranked passing offense in the regular season.
The defense did what it could the past two weeks, but facing Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 4,740 yards, 38 touchdowns and just six interceptions, is much different than defending Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph.
In addition to Ward and Johnson, the Browns also welcomed back offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who missed the past two games while dealing with COVID-19. Wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea returned on Monday, and head coach Kevin Stefanski is expected to be cleared to rejoin the Browns in person on Thursday, according to Mary Kay Cabot at cleveland.com.
The Browns are still waiting to see if left guard Joel Bitonio and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge will be able to return, as well as assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters, tight ends coach Drew Petzing and defensive backs coach Jeff Howard.
It is important to remember that just because players have been activated does not automatically mean they will be back at 100 percent, Stefanski stressed on Wednesday, according to cleveland.com:
“We need to monitor all those guys that are coming off that list. So we’ll be mindful of how they look. We’ll talk to them, get some feedback from them and then work that really day by day and understand where each one of those guys are.”
In other, more traditional injury news, right tackle Jack Conklin (hamstring), linebacker B.J. Goodson (shoulder) and tight end David Njoku (hamstring) were not able to practice on Wednesday and they all remain day to day, according to Stefanski.