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News & Notes: Browns 'embrace the uncertainty' of who will be available Monday vs. Raiders

The Browns will have until Monday at 2 p.m. to possibly receive good news on players being able to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list

Kevin Stefanski knows just as much as everyone else when it comes to knowing whether any more Browns players will be activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list before Monday's rescheduled game against the Raiders.

"As you can imagine, things are very fluid," he said Saturday in a Zoom call with local reporters. "We will see how it goes in terms of guys going to the list, but in terms of guys who are coming back, we don't know. There is uncertainty there. If guys make it back, great. If they do not, that is fine, too."

Stefanski, who tested positive for COVID-19 himself and also isn't sure if he'll be able to be on the sidelines to coach, said the Browns obviously will welcome any returnees from the list, which is currently holding 20 players, as soon as they can. A few additions are possible, especially after the league amended its return-to-play protocols Thursday by implementing a new metric called the "cycle threshold," which measures how contagious a player is and offers three avenues for a player on the reserve/COVID-19 list to return.

The testing can begin one day after a player tests positive and should help vaccinated players return on a faster basis. 

Yes, it's a tad complicated, but it's designed to help teams avoid future situations such as the one the Browns are currently dealing with, and it could help them play Monday with a more complete roster.

"There are smarter people than I to figure all that out," Stefanski said. "I like to just kind of focus on the things that we have to focus on."

For Stefanski, that task is all about preparing his team for Monday no matter which players and coaches are available. He watched the Browns' practice Saturday, their second full practice of the week, through Zoom and said it appeared to be a good one.

But the hope, of course, is to have more players on the field at 5 p.m. Monday at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns have until 2 p.m. Monday to seal their gameday roster. Several starters and key role players remain on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and the Browns would be plenty fortunate to receive any of them back in the next 48 hours.

"Honestly, with the guys who are on the COVID list in terms of them testing out and those type of things, we really do not have any control over that," he said. "I don't think anybody knows. That is the uncertainty of this situation.

"I think our players embrace the uncertainty and embrace the challenge of this all. If guys make it back, that is great. If they do not, we will be just fine."

Check out exclusive photos from the practice fields at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus of the Browns preparing for their Week 15 game against the Las Vegas Raiders

Walker made 'the most' of time on COVID list

LB Anthony Walker Jr. wasn't OK with sitting still after he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week.

Walker missed last Sunday's win against the Ravens due to a positive test and was activated Saturday, but he said his symptoms — which featured only a bit of congestion — weren't enough to stop him from doing at-home workouts and, of course, staying tuned into team meetings and conducting his usual, meticulous study of game film.

"I tried to make the most of some at-home workouts," he said. "Staying engaged. Staying in Zoom meetings. FaceTiming with the other guys while they are in meetings to stay locked in. Watching practice film. Watching the game from home. Just trying to stay engaged as much as possible. It's tough obviously not being out there with your brothers every day. Shoot, this is your life."

Walker can finally return to it all, and his presence as a near-every down player and steady tackler will be a big boost for a team that needs as many veterans back in the lineup as possible.

"We were ready to rock however it shook out," he said. "I think the guys were again just 100 percent locked in. However the league decided to handle it, we were going to be prepared for it."

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