Browns head coach, two staff and two players test positive for COVID-19

Kevin Stefanski Browns
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski will be back on the sidelines for Sunday’s AFC Divisional matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has tested positive for COVID-19 along with two additional coaching staff members and two players, the team announced on Tuesday.

The Browns broke the league’s longest active playoff drought with a 24-22 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday to clinch a spot in this weekend’s Wild Card Round after COVID-19-related absences dogged the team in the final two weeks of the regular season.

“Our facility is currently closed while contact tracing is taking place,” the Browns said in a statement. “The team will continue to consult with the league and medical experts to determine the appropriate next steps.”

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will step in as Cleveland’s acting head coach for Sunday night’s game against those very Steelers (8:15 p.m. ET). They last made the playoffs in 2002.

The Browns had to shut their facility ahead of the Week 17 showdown with Pittsburgh due to positive COVID-19 tests within the franchise, prompting concern as the NFL headed towards the post-season, but they were able to play as scheduled.

The team had to compete without their top-tier receiving corps during the Week 16 loss to the New York Jets, with players sidelined on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. There are currently 14 members of the organization who are currently sidelined due to the virus.