The Cleveland Browns placed center Nick Harris on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
Harris becomes the fifth Cleveland player this week to be placed on the list, joining running backs Nick Chubb, Demetric Felton and John Kelly, along with wide receiver Lawrence Cager.
All five players are reportedly vaccinated, according to Nate Ulrich at The Beacon Journal, so there is still a chance, even if it is diminishing, that all five could still be available for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.
For that to happen, each player needs to be symptom free and have two negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.
If Chubb and Felton are both out for the game, the Browns will turn to running back D’Ernest Johnson as the starter and will look at “other options,” including possibly using wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the backfield, head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Wednesday.
The Browns are now in the league-mandated COVID-19 protocols, which include everyone being tested daily, a return to virtual meetings and wearing masks in the team facility.
While certainly not an ideal situation, it is better than what is currently going on with the Minnesota Vikings after offensive lineman Dakota Dozier was hospitalized Tuesday night while dealing with COVID-19 complications, according to NFL Network. That has led to 29 members of the organization, including head coach Mike Zimmer, being tested as high-risk, close contacts to Dozier.
As for the Browns, this is not a new situation and they are dealing with it, head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Wednesday via a team-provided transcript:
“It is things that we have done before. We know virtual meetings are not ideal, but we also understand that you can cover a lot of ground in them. We just talked this morning with the players about making sure they are engaged in those meetings and getting everything out of them that we need to. I would just tell you that whatever the protocols are, we follow them to a T. It is what it is.”
Harris is the backup to JC Tretter at center, and while Tretter never misses a snap, the Browns will need to get someone up to speed in the next few days just in case.
It has been a rough second season for Harris, who was a fifth-round selection by the Browns in the 2020 NFL Draft. He landed on injured reserve after the Week 4 game against the Minnesota Vikings and just returned this past week for the game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Harris has played 24 snaps this season, all on special teams.