CLEVELAND — A number of COVID-19 outbreaks around the league has widened and worsened, and nowhere is it having more of an impact than Cleveland.

Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield and Coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and will likely miss Saturday’s game against Las Vegas as Cleveland deals with a widespread outbreak during its playoff pursuit. While this is on a larger scale, the Browns dealt with a similar outbreak late last season. Stefanski tested positive on the eve of Cleveland’s playoff appearance and watched the Browns beat rival Pittsburgh in an AFC wild-card game from his basement at home.

“We’ve been here before.” Stefanski said. “Next man up.”

Stefanski’s positive test was first announced by the team, which then put Mayfield, starting safety John Johnson III, nickel back Troy Hill, starting defensive tackle Malik McDowell and defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It’s hardly an ideal situation heading into a crucial game for the Browns (7-6), who have been inconsistent all season and are preparing for their matchup with the Raiders (6-7) on a short week – and may not be able to have a full practice this week.

Despite the outbreak in Cleveland, an NFL spokesman tells AP there’s been “no discussion of changing the game’s status.” The league said before the season that no games would be postponed because of COVID-19 outbreaks and that forfeits could be in play for an outbreak among unvaccinated players.

The latest positive tests came one day after the team placed eight players, including top receiver Jarvis Landry and starting offensive linemen Wyatt Teller and Jedrick Wills Jr., on the COVID-19 list.


Last week, the Browns were missing three key players due to coronavirus positives: tight end David Njoku, linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. and punter Jamie Gillan. Their status for this week remains uncertain.

CHIEFS: Kansas City added linebacker Willie Gay Jr. to the COVID-19 list on Wednesday, one day before they play the Los Angeles Chargers in a game that could go a long way toward deciding the AFC West.

The Chiefs placed wide receiver Josh Gordon on the list Monday and defensive tackle Chris Jones on it Tuesday. All three of them played in Sunday’s win over the Raiders, which kept Kansas City a game ahead of the Chargers in the division. There is an outside chance Gordon or Jones could play if they return two negative tests 24 hours apart, while rookie Nick Bolton and veteran linebacker Ben Niemann should get the majority of Gay’s snaps in Los Angeles.

RAMS: The Los Angeles Rams had 16 players on their reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday after adding three more to the group.

Linebacker Justin Hollins and tight ends Johnny Mundt and Jared Pinkney were added one day after the Rams put nine players on the list following their 30-23 victory at Arizona on Monday night.

The Rams (9-4) are holding all of their activities virtually Wednesday under intensive protocols in preparation for their visit from the Seattle Seahawks (5-8) on Sunday. Their training facility in Thousand Oaks is closed. Defensive back Jalen Ramsey, receiver Odell Beckham Jr., safety Jordan Fuller, running back Darrell Henderson and right tackle Rob Havenstein are the biggest contributors currently on the reserve list.


2024 SUPER BOWL: Las Vegas is adding the NFL’s crown jewel with the Super Bowl coming to cap the 2023 season. The league’s biggest event will follow the Pro Bowl this season and the NFL draft next year, all within five years of the Raiders’ move to the gambling mecca in the Nevada desert.

The 2024 Super Bowl was supposed to be in New Orleans, but a later date brought on by the new 17-game regular season created a conflict with that city’s annual Mardi Gras celebration.

While Las Vegas has always been a destination for fans over Super Bowl weekend, officials believe the economic impact will be an additional $500 million with the game in the city.

“It’s a big day for the Raiders,” club owner Mark Davis said. “It’s a big day for the city of Las Vegas. I think it’s a marriage made in heaven, I’ll say. Some others may use a different word.”

RAVENS: Baltimore Coach John Harbaugh said Lamar Jackson would not practice Wednesday, although the star quarterback remains a possibility to play this weekend.

Jackson left last weekend’s loss at Cleveland with a sprained ankle. He was not available to reporters Wednesday the way he usually is. Harbaugh said Jackson is day to day. The Ravens also were preparing for the arrival of another quarterback. Jets Coach Robert Saleh announced that Josh Johnson was heading to Baltimore from New York’s practice squad.


Tyler Huntley relieved Jackson against Cleveland and led a comeback that fell short in a 24-22 defeat. Baltimore hosts Green Bay on Sunday.

PANTHERS: Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold was back at practice Wednesday earlier than expected after being designated to return from injured reserve. Darnold went on injured reserve Nov. 10 with a shoulder injury.

The Panthers have 21 days to decide whether to activate Darnold to the 53-man roster. Panthers second-year coach Matt Rhule said he’s unsure if Darnold would be able to return at all this season.

GIANTS: New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is likely to miss his third straight game because of a neck injury.

Coach Joe Judge said Wednesday the third-year quarterback still has not been cleared for contact and Mike Glennon will start Sunday against the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (9-4).

Jones was hurt Nov. 28 in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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