The Browns’ luck took a turn for the better Saturday morning, just 24 hours ahead of their AFC North playoff showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cleveland’s been hit hard with the coronavirus these past few weeks. The Browns will be without coach-of-the-year candidate Kevin Stefanski and several other assistant coaches on Sunday as a result.
Earlier this week, the Browns had also placed starting safety Ronnie Harrison, backup linebacker Malcolm Smith and backup tight end Harrison Bryant on the NFL’s COVID/reserve list.
Fortunately, luck is in the Browns’ favor today. Cleveland removed Harrison, Smith and Bryant from the reserve list Saturday morning. Each of the three will be available on Sunday versus the Steelers.
We've made the following roster moves:
Activated from Reserve/COVID-19:
TE Harrison Bryant
S Ronnie Harrison Jr.
LB Malcolm Smith
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 9, 2021
Luck and the Browns usually don’t belong in the same sentence, but here we are.
The Browns will make their first playoff appearance since 2002 on Sunday. They’ll have a chance to flip the script on what’s been a dreadful two decades. The odds are stacked against them, though.
Being without a leader in Kevin Stefanski is costly. He’s been one of the best coaches in the league this year, righting the ship in Cleveland and leading his team to the playoffs.
Without Stefanski on the sideline, Baker Mayfield needs to emerge as the clear-cut leader this Sunday. He’s played well this season when his full passing arsenal is available. But will he have enough weapons to upset the Steelers in just over 24 hours?
The Browns take on the Steelers this Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC.