Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, joining a growing list of players and coaches at risk of missing Saturday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Mayfield has been a frequent name on the team’s injury report with shoulder and leg ailments and tested positive Wednesday. The Browns confirmed Stefanski and Mayfield were positive and six total players were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list: cornerback Troy Hill, safety John Johnson III, defensive tackle Malik McDowell, defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo and Mayfield.
The 39-year-old Stefanski also tested positive before Cleveland’s Jan. 10 playoff win over the Steelers, and as of Wednesday was one of at least 10 in the organization unable to participate in-person. Per the Browns, that number of breakthrough cases is expected to grow after more testing at the team facility.
Mayfield is vaccinated, he said in September. Vaccinated players and staff would need to produce two negative COVID-19 tests to be cleared for Saturday’s home game.
Running backs coach Ryan Cordell and eight players are positive, the team confirmed, and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as head coach. Priefer filled the same role when Stefanski missed the team’s wild-card victory.
“This morning’s testing round has produced additional positive COVID-19 results. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, who has been vaccinated and received a booster, has tested positive and has immediately self-isolated. He is feeling fine and will continue his head coaching duties virtually as we prepare for the Las Vegas Raiders game on Saturday. Should Coach Stefanski not produce two negative tests by Saturday, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as acting head coach and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will serve as the play caller in Saturday’s game. Additionally, acting running backs coach Ryan Cordell has tested positive. Our player round of testing is still being conducted and any player transactions related to COVID-19 reserve will be updated and announced once finalized.”
Monday and Tuesday were record days across the NFL for reserve/COVID transactions.
The NHL and NBA were also hit hard and began postponing games due to the spreading virus.
To date, the NFL hasn’t missed a regular-season game in 2021 because of the coronavirus.
(Field Level Media)