Kevin Stefanski awoke to scary news Sunday morning before he prepared for the Browns' eighth team practice of training camp.
Stefanski was one of multiple members on the Browns who received a false positive COVID-19 test — only he didn't know it was a false positive until hours later. As a result, the Browns temporarily shut down their Berea headquarters and paused team activities Sunday until a second round of testing proved the earlier results to be inaccurate.
"It was a very interesting morning," Stefanski said Monday in a video call with local reporters. "It was not fun to have that phone call very early in the morning and not get news that it was potentially an error until later. It's something I take seriously, and our goal with our players and staff is to keep everybody safe. Our organization mobilized immediately, got on top of it and followed protocols."
Check out photos from the eighth day of Browns Camp
Stefanski said a number of players were among those in the organization affected. Though Stefanski was cleared to enter the facility early Monday after a second negative test result, 12 players were not cleared until shortly before Monday's practice.
The testing issue impacted in some way all of the NFL teams that send their COVID-19 test results to the BioReference Laboratories facility based in New Jersey. In a statement, the lab acknowledged the testing errors were the result of an "isolated contamination."
After he heard his original test came back positive, Stefanski self-isolated in a nearby condominium. He and the players missed Sunday's practice — defensive coordinator Joe Woods was given interim head coaching duties — but Stefanski watched tape from 7-on-7 drills shortly after practice concluded. The team followed all of the proper protocols in place should positive tests results occur, and the brief scare subsided quickly.
"It was a 'fire drill,' as it's been called," Stefanski said, "but it's a great reminder that we have to trust our protocols and make sure we're doing everything the right way. It was a good dry run for our contingency plans."
The Browns will return to their normal football activities Monday with practice set to begin at 2:25 p.m.