Browns' JC Tretter Announces He Tested Positive for COVID-19 Ahead of Packers Game

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 23, 2021

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 31: Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter (64) on the field during the second quarter of the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on October 31, 2021, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter announced Thursday he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The veteran lineman said he had felt "mild cold-like symptoms this morning," which led him to seek out a COVID-19 test.

JC Tretter @JCTretter

After experiencing mild cold-like symptoms this morning, I chose to test at our facility and unfortunately, I am positive for COVID-19. I encourage all NFL players to take every precaution available to them to protect themselves, their families and their teammates from this virus

With Thursday's news, Tretter will likely be absent for Saturday's game against the Green Bay Packers. He has yet to miss a single game since signing with Cleveland in 2017.

Zac Jackson @AkronJackson

Tretter had not missed a snap since 2016, his final year with the Packers. That includes playing through a nasty high ankle sprain in 2018 and lingering knee issues the last two years.

The Browns will have to forge ahead in Week 16 without a number of key players.

Hayden Grove @H_Grove

Browns COVID list: <br>Baker Mayfield<br>Case Keenum<br>Kareem Hunt<br>Jarvis Landry<br>Jedrick Wills<br>Jadeveon Clowney<br>Malik McDowell<br>Ifeadi Odenigbo<br>Mack Wilson<br>Tony Fields II<br>Troy Hill<br>A.J. Green<br>Ronnie Harrison<br>Greg Newsome II<br>JC Tretter

Earlier this week, the NFL and NFL Players Association reached an agreement to amend the COVID-19 health and safety protocols in the wake of a surge in new positive cases. The new rules ease the frequency at which vaccinated players are required to be tested.

The players can be voluntarily tested as much as they want, but they're only compelled when showing COVID-like symptoms.

Tretter, president of the NFLPA, argued in September in favor of daily testing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 when the Delta variant was causing a spike at the time.

"The NFLPA saw this coming months ago and has been advocating for a return to daily testing because it is more effective way to stop and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our locker rooms," he said.

With Omicron variant creating the same problem—on a greater scale—the NFLPA renewed that call:


The NFL decided to take away a critical weapon in our fight against the transmission of COVID-19 despite our union's call for daily testing months ago. We're talking to our player leadership &amp; to the NFL about potential changes to the protocols so that we can complete the season. <a href="https://t.co/r14HqZ2iMC">pic.twitter.com/r14HqZ2iMC</a>

In another change to the health and safety protocols, the league and players' union agreed to accelerate the timeline by which vaccinated players can return to the field. Even if they continue to test positive, a player can be activated if his viral load is below the threshold at which he's deemed to be contagious.

Despite those changes, the timing of Tretter's positive test almost certainly means Nick Harris will be the Browns' starting center Saturday.