The Cleveland Browns are back to working remotely ahead of their upcoming wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with coach Kevin Stefanski telling reporters Wednesday that the team’s training facility remains closed. In the wake of 17 different players landing on COVID-19 reserve over the last two weeks, as well as Stefanski himself contracting the virus, the Browns are relying on virtual walk-throughs to prepare for Sunday’s playoff matchup.
It’s unclear if the Browns will still reopen their facilities for in-person practice later in the week, but they did receive some good news on Wednesday. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, additional COVID-19 tests for players came back negative Wednesday morning, suggesting the team has avoided an outbreak ahead of its first postseason appearance since 2002. That news comes a day after both wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge and Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio were added to the COVID list, making them ineligible for Sunday’s game.
As long as the Browns don’t identify any more COVID cases, per Schefter, Sunday’s game will be played as scheduled. Additional positive tests, however, could jeopardize the originally scheduled kickoff, set for 8:15 p.m. Eastern.
Stefanski, meanwhile, has already been ruled out for Sunday’s contest due to COVID. He told reporters Wednesday that he doesn’t believe he’ll be permitted to communicate with either staff or players on game day and doesn’t plan to request an exemption.