NEWARK, NJ – Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry battled a hip injury all last season and found himself after offseason surgery to keep his beloved 110-game streak alive, ending it Sunday in being placed on the COVID-19 reserve as a high-risk close contact.
Landry is one of five players – the top four receivers and two starting linebackers – who were placed on the roster on Saturday night as close contacts with linebacker BJ Goodson, who tested positive for the virus.
All must be absent from Sunday’s potential decisive game against the Jets 1-13, and Goodson will also miss next week’s season finale against the Steelers, as players who test positive must stay away from the squad. for at least 10 days.
Other people on the roster as Goodson’s high-risk close contacts are wide receivers Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, Donovan Peoples-Jones and linebackers Jacob Phillips.
In addition, the club bred receiver Ja’Marcus Bradley (Communicable Disease Addendum), linebacker Montrel Meander and receiver Derrick Willies from the practice squad. The only active receiver left on the roster before the practice squad calls were Marvin Hall, who was claimed for waivers on Dec. 7 from Detroit.
A source said the players did not celebrate Christmas together. A league source said the game was still in progress because the NFL determined it was safe for other players and coaches to participate and it was not a medical risk. Close contacts must self-isolate for five days and may return on day six if they continue to test negative, meaning they can likely resume practice on Thursday.
The Browns thought they might be out of the woods when the rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., who was placed in the COVID-19 reserve Thursday as close contact with someone outside the organization, was off the list and reimagined when he left for the Jets game.
The game is huge for the Browns as they have a chance to clinch their first playoff spot in 18 years with a win and loss or a tie by the Ravens, Dolphins or Colts.
Landry, who has come out strong the past four weeks with 29 receptions and three touchdowns after failing to score his first 10 games, has weighed in on the issue on social media.
“Annoyed,” he tweeted.
Not only do the Browns need to replace Landry on his routes and pre-instant moves, they’ll miss his arm as well.
“I knew he could throw the ball very well,” said offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt on Thursday. “I probably didn’t pay enough attention to the type of road racer he was and the ability to split versus tight coverage, to make catches of competitors and all that. I’m pretty sure he hit the Bengals with a nice throw from the straight sideline against us a few years back, so I obviously knew he could throw it well.
The Browns were preparing for their afternoon flight to New Jersey on Saturday morning when they learned that Goodson, the Browns’ starting center linebacker, had tested positive. At that point, they closed the facility, held meetings virtually, and delayed their 2:45 p.m. flight while they conducted contact tracing. They also worked closely with the NFL on the appropriate next steps.
Losing Goodson was a pretty big hit as he is the inspiring leader of the defense, leading the team with a career-high 91 tackles and tied for first with two interceptions. If the Browns beat the Jets and the Steelers 11-3 lose to Colt 10-4, the Browns will have a chance to win the division in the season finale for the first time since 1989.
“BJ is doing a good job,” Stefanski said on Dec. 7, a day after Goodson helped the Browns beat the Titans 41-35. “He’s definitely the emotional leader of defense. You hear it before you see it. He brings the guys together in training and during games. He plays big in these ball games to help us win. “
With Goodson and Phillips out, Mack Wilson will have a chance to redeem himself after being benched last week, presumably for performance. Phillips started in his place, but Wilson could be fielded either at the middle linebacker or at his usual weak spot. The Browns also have Malcolm Smith and Tae Davis ready to jump in.
When news of the contact tracing hit, it couldn’t have been much worse if Baker Mayfield hadn’t been on the list. Playing the lights the past four weeks and climbing to No.12 in the NFL with a 99.4 rating, Mayfield will need to rely heavily on tight ends and running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
In his last four games, Mayfield threw 10 touchdowns on a single interception, completed 70% of his passes and posted a 117.7 odds.
The hardest part will potentially be not having the receiving body until Thursday with possibly a playoff berth or the AFC North crown on the line against the Steelers. Players must also continue to test negative in order to return.
New Browns face masks for sale: Here’s where you can purchase Cleveland Browns-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection for adults and youth, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All NFL profits have been donated to the CDC Foundation.
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