Kevin Stefanski won’t be the only member of the Cleveland Browns missing from the sidelines this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Earlier today, Cleveland announced that Stefanski, two additional coaches, and two players tested positive for COVID-19. That means they’ll be unable to travel with the team for its first playoff game since 2002.
“The Cleveland Browns were informed this morning that Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, two additional members of the coaching staff and two players have tested positive for COVID-19,” the team said in a statement. “Our facility is currently closed while contact tracing is taking place.”
It took a little bit of time for the names to be revealed, but the NFL world now knows which players won’t suit up for the Browns this Sunday. According to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero, the two players who tested positive are Joel Bitonio and KhaDarel Hodge.
Losing a three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman like Bitonio is huge. He has been so consistent over the course of his career in Cleveland, so it must be heartbreaking for him to sit out this weekend.
Hodge hasn’t been a key component of Cleveland’s passing attack, but he did have 11 receptions for 180 yards in the regular season.
#Browns LG Joel Bitonio and WR KhaDarel Hodge tested positive for COVID-19, per sources.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 5, 2021
The Browns have shut down their facility this Tuesday in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19. It has been an issue for the team since Week 16, though.
Despite this potential outbreak, an NFL spokesman said the status of this weekend’s Browns-Steelers game has not changed at this time.