Browns fans were absolutely ecstatic about the team beating the Pittsburgh Steelers and advancing to the playoff for the first time since 2002. It is a matchup against those very same Steelers, which adds plenty of intrigue to what is about to be said.
Unfortunately, head coach Kevin Stefanski, offensive lineman Joel Bitonio (longest-tenured Browns player) and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. They will be unavailable for Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. Losing anyone is tough, but those three are big names for this team, especially the head coach.
Via the Browns: Our contingency planning calls for Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer to serve as the acting Head Coach.
Anyway, here is what’s interesting.
The Browns and Steelers literally just played in a game on Sunday. There was plenty of contact between players on each team. The two aforementioned positive Browns players were in the game. Stefanski certainly interacted with plenty of players/coaches/people on the Pittsburgh side.
Remember when the Browns had to sit all of their receivers against the Jets due to contact tracing results?
The NFL is going to have to take a good look at this and make a decision between being hypocrites or rescheduling this playoff game. If there aren’t any Steelers with positive tests now, they certainly were around the people that tested positive for the Browns.
If the NFL decides to keep everything as-is, this is going to be very difficult for the Browns. It makes the first playoff game in a long time, in which the team was already an underdog, that much more of a mountain to climb with a head coach that is going to have to communicate virtually with other members of the staff and players.
All we fans can do for now is wait and see what the league does.