Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski Tests Positive For COVID-19, Will Miss Team's 1st Playoff Game Since 2002

Tuesday, January 5th 2021, 1:23 pm
By: CBS News

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Tuesday. The result means Stefanski will miss the team's first playoff game since 2002.

The Browns said special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as acting head coach. The team also closed its facility as it conducts contact tracing. 

The team said two players and two more coaching staff members — tight ends coach Drew Petzing and defensive backs coach Jeff Howard — also tested positive. According to NFL rules, anyone testing positive must sit out at least 10 days. 

"The team will continue to consult with the league and medical experts to determine the appropriate next steps as the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and the entire community remains our highest priority," the Browns said in a statement. 

NFL Network identified three-time Pro-Bowl left tackle Joel Bitonio and receiver KhaDarel Hodge as the players who tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Browns had the NFL's longest drought without a playoff appearance. The team beat the Steelers for the regular season finale, but are scheduled to play this Sunday against their division rival for the AFC wild-card matchup at Heinz Field, where they haven't won in 17 years.