Another day, another shutdown of the Cleveland Browns' facility. Just a day after the club opened and re-opened their facility on Wednesday due to positive COVID-19 tests, Cleveland is once again closing its doors after two more players tested positive. Similar to Wednesday, the team hopes to get through contact tracing in time to practice this afternoon. One of the new positive tests was triggered because he was deemed a high-risk close contact with someone outside the building.
"The Cleveland Browns were informed of two additional positive COVID-19 test results among our players this morning," the club said in a statement. "The Browns facility is currently closed while contact tracing is conducted to identify any high-risk close contacts. The team will continue to work remotely this morning while following the NFL-NFLPA intensive protocols as the health and safety of our team, staff and the entire community remains our highest priority."
On Wednesday, the club closed its facility after they were informed that both a player and staff member tested positive for the virus and they immediately began contact tracing in advance of Sunday's season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team announced later on Wednesday afternoon that they were cleared to return to the facility after contact tracing had been completed.
The Browns also activated safety Ronnie Harrison, who sustained a shoulder injury during the team's Week 12 win over the Jaguars. Cleveland placed tight end Harrison Bryant, safety Andrew Sendejo and safety Karl Joseph on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week.
In last Sunday's upset loss to the Jets, Cleveland was without receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge and linebackers B.J. Goodson and Jacob Phillips, who were each placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list prior to kickoff. The Browns are hoping to get those players back before Sunday's game.
This is far from the first time the Browns have shuttered their facility due to COVID-19 concerns. Cleveland has endured several closures, sometimes out of an abundance of caution and other times due to multiple infections, throughout the 2020 season but has yet to have a game rescheduled as a result. These closures may not affect Sunday's game, either, except potentially making the infected player and coach unavailable for the matchup. Of course, if more positive tests continue to pop up, however, we start to creep into territory where the game could be in jeopardy.
If the Browns lose Sunday's game, they would need either a Colts loss or a Titans loss along with wins by the Ravens and Dolphins in order to make the playoffs. If the Browns make the playoffs, Cleveland and Pittsburgh could possibly face each other in the first round of the playoffs. The Steelers and Browns have previously met twice in the postseason, with Pittsburgh winning both contests.