Browns Reopening Practice Facility After COVID-19 Outbreak Before Playoff Game

Adam WellsJanuary 8, 2021

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller

Amid a COVID-19 outbreak ahead of the NFL playoffs, the Cleveland Browns are holding their first in-person practice on Friday. 

Per ESPN's Jake Trotter, the league cleared the Browns to practice Friday afternoon for the first time this week before their wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. 

A coronavirus outbreak this week will leave the Browns shorthanded heading into their first playoff game since 2002. They clinched a postseason berth in Week 17 with a 24-22 win over the Steelers. 

Per Jeff Risdon of BrownsWire.com, there were nine Cleveland players on the reserve/COVID-19 list as of Friday morning. Five coaches, including head coach Kevin Stefanski, are also away from the team because of coronavirus protocols. 

The Browns announced on Friday afternoon that a 10th player, Jovante Moffatt, has been added to the reserve/COVID-19 list. 

Due to the outbreak, Cleveland has been unable to hold an in-person practice this week until Friday. The team worked remotely on Wednesday and Thursday. 

“The mission is still the same,’' wide receiver Jarvis Landry told reporters on Thursday. “For us, we’re still excited about the opportunity to play football in January. We’re still excited about making the playoffs. The urgency of what we’re trying to do here is win the game, regardless of the circumstances that we’re faced with. That’s just how the cards are and that’s how we have to play it.”

With Stefanski unable to coach for the time being, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will serve as head coach on Sunday. 

Cleveland will play the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET in the AFC Wild Card round.