Browns cancel practice after positive COVID-19 tests

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
FILE PHOTO: Dec 14, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) slips away from Baltimore Ravens linebacker Chris Board (49) during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

January 4, 2021

(Reuters) – The Cleveland Browns’ preparations for their pivotal regular-season finale took another hit as the team said they would not practice on Thursday after two more players tested positive for COVID-19.

The Browns, who can clinch their first playoff berth in 17 years with a win over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, said they would instead work remotely for the rest of the day and hope to reopen on Friday.

“In light of today’s positive test results and after consulting with the NFL, we’ve decided to keep our facility closed for the day,” the Browns said in a statement.

“As we’ve previously stated, the health and well-being of our players, coaches and staff is our highest priority and this decision was made with that in-mind.”

Cleveland had to close their facility on Wednesday after a coach and practice squad player tested positive for the virus but the team were cleared to reopen the site hours later after contract tracing was completed.

The Browns were without their top four receivers for last Sunday’s game as they were all placed on the reserve COVID-19 list since they were considered high-risk close contacts with another player who tested positive.

The four receivers were activated on Thursday while cornerback Denzel Ward and linebacker Malcolm Smith were added to the team’s COVID-19 list.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Aurora Ellis)