The Cleveland Browns are filling up the transaction sheet Thursday afternoon. The team announced several roster moves, all related to their Reserve/COVID list. The team announced they have activated the following players from Reserve/COVID: WRs Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and LB Jacob Phillips.
The team also placed two players on Reserve/COVID. They include LB Malcolm Smith and CB Denzel Ward.
Ward, the team’s top corner, will now he held out of Sunday’s pivotal game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mary Kay Cabot tweeted Ward is a positive test, not a close-contact, putting his status in jeopardy for any potential playoff game. One that could come against the Steelers.
And Smith is the Browns’ second leading tackler with 72 this season. The Browns are now expected to be without their top three leading tacklers this weekend: LB BJ Goodson, SS Andrew Sendejo, and Smith.
The good news is Cleveland gets their WR room back. All those players missed last week’s upset loss against the New York Jets. Landry has been the Browns’ top weapon, especially since Odell Beckham Jr. suffered his season-ending injury in late October.
Perhaps ominously, the Browns also announced they’ve closed their team facility for the rest of the day after more positive COVID tests. League officials say they believe the uptick in cases are contained and won’t lead to a widespread outbreak but this news is unsettling.
As of now, the Steelers and Browns are still scheduled to play Sunday afternoon at 1 PM/EST. If Cleveland wins, they make the postseason. If they lose, they’ll need help, most notably the Colts losing to to the Jacksonville Jaguars.