The Cleveland Browns are one of a handful of teams dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. The Browns closed team facilities on Nov. 25 after their fourth positive test in less than two weeks. A fifth positive test was acknowledged Thursday morning.
The team released the following statement:
“The Cleveland Browns were informed this morning that a player has tested positive for COVID-19. The facility is currently closed and meetings will take place remotely while contact tracing is conducted to identify any high-risk close contacts. The team will continue to consult with the league and medical experts on the appropriate next steps as the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and the entire community remains our highest priority.”
Although the NFL adds high risk contacts to the COVID-19 list, it has been relatively easy to deduct which players actually have the virus. When reserve offensive lineman Chris Hubbard, fullback Andy Janovich, defensive end Myles Garrett and linebacker Sione Takitaki were added to the COVID-19 list, the team released a statement earlier in the day acknowledging that a player tested positive. Zero statements were released on the days that defensive end Joe Jackson, offensive tackle Jack Conklin, long snapper Charley Hughlett and kicker Cody Parkey were added to the COVID-19 list. Conklin and Parkey were able to play the same week.
The identity of the fifth positive test has not been identified but it should become clear in the coming hours when the Browns add a player to the COVID-19 list.
The four players to previously test positive all remain on the list dating back to Nov. 13. Cleveland, 7-3, is scheduled to play the Jaguars this weekend. Jacksonville has also been dealing with positive tests from the coaching staff.
The NFL made the difficult decision to postpone the Thursday night matchup between the Ravens and Steelers because of Baltimore’s COVID-19 outbreak. Contingency plans have already been made in the event that games are canceled. The league reached the decision to allow eight teams per conference in the playoffs if “meaningful games” are canceled. To this point, that has not happened. Baltimore may force the issue this weekend, however.