Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and quarterback Baker Mayfield both tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and their status for Saturday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders is now in question.
Stefanski, who is vaccinated and has received a booster, will continue to prepare the Browns virtually, according to a statement from the Browns:
The statement reads:
This morning’s testing round has produced additional positive COVID-19 results. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, who has been vaccinated and received a booster, has tested positive and has immediately self-isolated. He is feeling fine and will continue his head coaching duties virtually as we prepare for the Las Vegas Raiders game on Saturday. Should Coach Stefanski not produce two negative tests by Saturday, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as acting head coach and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will serve as the play caller in Saturday’s game. Additionally, acting running backs coach Ryan Cordell has tested positive. Our player round of testing is still being conducted and any player transactions related to COVID-19 reserve will be updated and announced once finalized.
The team has yet to release anything on Mayfield, and his positive test was first reported by ESPN:
The Browns went through this last season when Stefanski tested positive for COVID-19 before the Wild Card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stefanski was unable to coach that game, so Priefer took over as acting head coach, with Van Pelt calling the plays on offense, as the Browns defeated the Steelers.
The news about Stefanski comes a day after the Browns placed guard Drew Forbes, tight end Austin Hooper, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, defensive end Takkarist McKinley, right guard Wyatt Teller, left tackle Jedrick Wills, wide receiver JoJo Natson and tight end Ross Travis on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Browns also still have three players on the list from last week, as tight end David Njoku, linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. and punter Jamie Gillan have not yet been cleared to return to practice.
Everyone on the list must test negative twice 24 hours apart, and the deadline is Friday at 4 p.m. for that to occur, so anyone placed on the list this week is running out of time to be available for the game against the Raiders.
NFL owners meet today in Dallas, and there’ll be discussion on the situations in Cleveland and LA. https://t.co/wzV4poQ0yC— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 15, 2021
The NFL let teams know prior to the season that it would be highly unlikely that a game would be postponed due to COVID, but if more players are placed on the list after today’s round of testing, it is fair to wonder if that might change some minds in the league office.