The Cleveland Browns were rocked by devastating news earlier this morning when head coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive for COVID-19. The team shut down their facility and addressed the news in a statement on Tuesday.
“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. “Our facility is currently closed while contact tracing is taking place.”
Regrettably, that means that Stefanski will miss the team’s first playoff game in 18 years. Cleveland will still prepare to play Pittsburgh on Sunday night of Super Wild Card Weekend.
Meanwhile, on the Steelers side of things, it seems to be business as normal.
When asked about the current situation regarding the Browns, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said he had “complete confidence” in the league’s protocols per Brooke Pryor of ESPN. He also mentioned that he wasn’t spending time worrying about the spread of the virus when his team played the Browns last Sunday.
Tomlin says he has complete confidence in the protocol by the NFL — isn't spending time worried about possible COVID-19 spread from Browns in last week's game vs. Steelers.
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) January 5, 2021
Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is expected to serve as the acting head coach for the game this weekend.
The news of Stefanski’s positive test couldn’t have come at a worse time for Cleveland. The Browns eked out a playoff spot with a win over the Steelers last weekend, energizing a long-starved fanbase. Now, it’s unclear what will become of the organization throughout the week.
At this point, the league appears ready to play the game, full steam ahead. Of course, there’s a possibility that the Browns outbreak could get worse before it gets better, making the situation an important one to closely monitor.
Hopefully, Stefanski and the rest of the Browns organization affected can recover quickly and fully.