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News & Notes: Browns could get some players back by Thursday

Players must continue to post negative COVID-19 test results

The Browns could get a boost to their roster by Thursday with the potential return of a number of players.

Cleveland currently has six players on the reserve/COVID-19 list — LB B.J. Goodson, LB Jacob Phillips, WR Jarvis Landry, WR Rashard Higgins, WR KhaDarel Hodge and WR Donovan Peoples-Jones. The players who were deemed high-risk close contacts and continue to test negative can be cleared to return Thursday, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday. 

That'd be just in time for the team's second of three practices as it prepares for Sunday's matchup against the Steelers, a game that will determine whether or not the Browns can return to the postseason for the first time since 2002.

Though Stefanski and Browns players were adamant the missing players weren't the reason why the team suffered a setback Sunday against the Jets, their absences definitely threw a last-minute wrench into the final 24 hours before the game.

"I am not going get into specifics, but it is something that I definitely have addressed with the team, addressed with those players," Stefanski said. "We absolutely have to learn from this."

Injury Update

Stefanski said the Browns will know more about the respective statuses of G Wyatt Teller and S Ronnie Harrison Jr. as the week unfolds.

Teller has missed the past two games with an ankle injury and has not practiced in the weeks since. Stefanski said he was "hopeful" to see Teller back on the practice field Wednesday. The Browns have averaged just 81.8 rushing yards in the five games Teller has missed this season.

"We will see how he looks tomorrow," Stefanski said.

"Wyatt is a good player, I understand that and everybody knows that. But again, I think we trust the guys that are in there. We have high expectations for our offense for our run game, pass game, really regardless who is in there."

Harrison, who was on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, was activated from injured reserve last week and went through practice leading up to the Jets game. He's missed the better part of the last five games.

LBs Sione Takitaki and Tae Davis are both day to day with ankle injuries. G Nick Harris is day to day with a knee injury.

Stefanski did not have an update on T Jedrick Wills Jr., who was ruled out Sunday with an illness.

New Face

Stefanski said Monday's signing of WR Alexander Hollins was not related to the team having four wide receivers on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Familiarity, though, played a factor.

Hollins, an undrafted rookie, was on the Vikings practice squad from Weeks 2-12 before joining the active roster for the final five games of the 2019 season, when Stefanski was the team's offensive coordinator. He posted two receptions, both for first downs, and 46 receiving yards on the year.

"(Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and his staff do a great job, they are always looking to manage the roster," Stefanski said. "Alexander is somebody that I have some experience with and kind of just told Andrew and his group what you are getting – tough receiver, good speed, knows the system."

The Browns will receive a roster exemption for Hollins that will expire once he's permitted to join the team in accordance with testing protocols.

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