The Browns will make their first playoff appearance in nearly two decades without their head coach.
The Browns announced on Tuesday that head coach Kevin Stefanski, two members of the coaching staff and two players have tested positive for COVID-19, leaving them out status in this weekend’s Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh matchup — their first playoff game since 2002.
We were informed this morning that Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, two additional members of the coaching staff and two players have tested positive for COVID-19.
Our contingency planning calls for Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer to serve as the acting Head Coach. pic.twitter.com/Mhh9Zt1e4d
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 5, 2021
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, a defensive backs coach, a tight end coach, a wide receiver and an offensive lineman have all landed on the COVID-19 list. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that TE coach Drew Petzing and DB coach are the two positive coaches, while NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that offensive lineman Joel Bitonio and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge are the players who tested positive.
In addition to HC Kevin Stefanski testing positive, here are the Browns other COVID issues:
A DB coach (Mesa test today) and TE coach (Mesa test today). A WR and OL (Mesa tests today). https://t.co/i7USJ6PCtW
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 5, 2021
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is asymptomatic. He will coach virtually during week for #Steelers but must miss the game. TE coach Drew Petzing and DB coach Jeff Howard must sit. 1 of the 2 new players who tested positive is significant https://t.co/JY40WOWPsc
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 5, 2021
#Browns LG Joel Bitonio and WR KhaDarel Hodge tested positive for COVID-19, per sources.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 5, 2021
The Browns facility will be closed while the league conducts its contact-tracing protocols.
The Browns were without their wide receiver corps in their Week 16 matchup vs. the Jets after COVID-19 protocols were breached.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield spent time on the COVID-19 list earlier in the season, but was activated after a few days.
Here’s the latest on Stefanski’s status for this weekend:
Will Kevin Stefanski coach vs. Steelers?
Stefanski will not coach this weekend along with two additional coaching staff members and four players who also tested positive for COVID-19.
As part of Cleveland’s COVID contingency plans, special teams coach Mike Priefer will act as the team’s head coach in the interim.
The Browns ended the league’s longest playoff drought by beating their wild-card round opponent, the Steelers, in Week 17. It will be their first appearance since 2002.