The Browns were met with urgent news Friday morning in Berea before they began their normal preparations for Week 10.
The team needed to shut down their facility and rearrange their normal practice schedule Friday after a player's COVID-19 test result came back positive. The Browns, who were already using the NFL's intensive protocol procedures since Saturday due to a positive test result with a team staffer, continued to hold virtual meetings throughout the day and waited to re-open their facility until the league could verify any close contacts with the player who tested positive.
Shortly before 3 p.m., the final results came back clean. No one was listed as a high-risk close contact, and the Browns were able to safely conduct a practice and complete their standard Friday activities.
"We just try to follow all the protocols to a 'T,'" coach Kevin Stefanski said. "We just had to push back the day a little bit. I think a big part of this is not having a high-risk close contact. That's really a big goal of ours today, moving forward, every day. It's something we take very seriously."
The Browns have prioritized safety and precautions for COVID-19 since team personnel were allowed back into the facility before training camp. Virtual meetings and a re-design of the team headquarters have allowed players, coaches and all other team members to safely conduct their work while limiting the spread of any potential positive cases among team members. Social distancing is required, and masks must be worn by all team personnel.
Contingency plans have always been in place, however, in the event of a positive case. Those plans were utilized Friday, and they worked smoothly.
"This is 2020," Stefanski said. "Things are going to come your way, and you have to react. I think our team is used to that, and we got our work in."
The Browns will continue to work along the guidelines of the NFL's intensive protocol, and the player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation. The precautions for limiting any spread of the virus worked Friday, and the Browns will continue to trust those protocols as they prepare for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.
"I think we just have to maintain the diligence that the organization has shown throughout," Stefanski said. "We've tried to go above and beyond the protocols. That's really where you need to be in this environment."