The Cleveland Browns activated safety Karl Joseph from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday afternoon.
Joseph, who was placed on the list on Tuesday, is now eligible to play in Sunday’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
We've made the following roster moves:— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 2, 2021
G Blake Hance (from the Jets’ PS)
Activated from Reserve/COVID-19:
S Karl Joseph
Elevated from practice squad:
G Cordell Iwuagwu (standard elevation)
LB Montrel Meander (COVID-19 replacement)
T Alex Taylor (COVID-19 replacement)
It was not all good news on the COVID-19 front, however, as the Browns will be without offensive line coach Bill Callahan and assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters on Sunday due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Browns were forced to close the team’s training facility Saturday morning after a member of the coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19, so it is reasonable to believe that either Callahan or Peters tested positive and the other one was tagged as a high-risk, close contact.
No players were found to be high-risk, close contacts on Saturday, according to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.
#Browns have no high-risk contacts among the players today.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 2, 2021
Joseph’s return for the game against the Steelers should help settle Cleveland’s secondary at least a little bit. The club will be without cornerback Denzel Ward and safety Andrew Sendejo as they are on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, but did activate safety Ronnie Harrison earlier this week from injured reserve, so having both Joseph and Harrison eases the sting a little bit.
In addition to Ward and Sendejo, the Browns will be playing without linebackers Malcolm Smith and B.J. Goodson, and tight end Harrison Bryant. The coaching staff will also be short wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.
To temporarily fill in some of the gaps, the Browns elevated three players from the practice squad on Saturday.
Guard Cordell Iwuagwu joined Cleveland’s practice squad on Monday. Originally an undrafted free agent signed by the Houston Texans, the 6-foot-3 and 313-pound Iwuagwu spent time on Houston’s practice squad before being released.
Linebacker Montrel Meander was originally signed by the Browns as a free agent in 2018. The 6-foot-2 and 215-pound Meander has spent most of the season on Cleveland’s practice squad, but has appeared in three games this year.
Offensive tackle Alex Taylor was originally signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent earlier this year. The 6-foot-8 and 301-pound Taylor has been on Cleveland’s practice squad since October 26.
The Browns had hoped to still have a walkthrough today, but ultimately decided to cancel that in the wake of the positive tests, according to The Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich.
#Browns won't hold their walk through today as previously scheduled. All of their work is being done virtually— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) January 2, 2021
The Steelers announced on Saturday that several starters will not be making the trip to Cleveland for the game. In addition, cornerback Joe Haden will not play after testing positive for COVID-19.
Steelers announce more players not making the trip to Cleveland: DT Cam Heyward, C Maurkice Pouncey & LB T.J. Watt. Chris Boswell, Terrell Edmunds, and Ben Roethlisberger will also not make the trip. https://t.co/KcSw5BdNjc— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) January 2, 2021
With a win on Sunday, the Browns will claim their first playoff appearance since 2002.