Most, if not all Browns players, were in their own "bubbles" as Kevin Stefanski addressed them virtually Tuesday during the team's first meeting of 2020 training camp.
Though the Browns have gone above and beyond to ensure the bubble they've created at the team's facility in Berea provides the safest possible environment for preventing the spread of COVID-19, the players won't be spending all 24 hours of their day inside of it. That's what makes the bubbles they create at their respective residences all the more important as the Browns and NFL hope to be at their healthiest selves when the season kicks off in September.
Stefanski said the team "talked a lot" Tuesday about the importance of responsible behavior outside of the facility.
"To me, it's a shared responsibility," Stefanski said. "It's something that it's not just one person's responsibility to stay on top of. We're really going to be counting on our veterans to show some good leadership here. It's a unique time and I know there's a work-life balance for our players and I completely understand that, but this is such a unique time and they have to take care of their teammates.
"We talk so much about being a good teammate and one of the ways we can a good teammate is when you leave this bubble and go into your own bubble, just making sure that you're making really sound decisions and ultimately you're taking care of your teammates when you do that, your teammates and your coaches."
Stefanski said he's encouraged players to continue those conversations with those who will be closest to them throughout the season. Their actions, too, are just as important.
"It's something all of us are living with and something all of us have to make good choices, make good decisions," Stefanski said. "You just have to do everything in your power to keep yourself and your teammates and their families safe. That's hard. That's not easy for a lot of families, mine included, but you just have to do it. It's the sacrifice that we're making to make sure that we're keeping everyone else safe."
Check out photos of the rookies and quarterbacks working out Thursday
Stefanski said he has not yet talked with David Njoku but stressed the team's stance has not changed on the fourth-year tight end, who recently requested a trade.
"We believe in David, excited to work with him," Stefanski said. "I'll get to finally be in the same room as him this weekend – he's coming in for physicals – and then get out on the field with him Monday. Excited to work with him."
Njoku, a former first-round pick, was sidelined for most of 2019 because of a wrist injury but excelled the previous season, catching 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns. The Browns picked up Njoku's fifth-year option in April to extend his contract through the 2021 season.
Landry on schedule
Stefanski said he would know more in the coming days but continues to be encouraged by the progress of WR Jarvis Landry.
Landry, a five-time Pro Bowler who is coming off a 2019 season in which he set career-highs in receiving yards and yards per catch, underwent hip surgery in February.
"He remains on schedule based on everything he has done post-surgery," Stefanski said.
'Next man up'
Stefanski said he respected the decision of G Drew Forbes, who was placed on the reserve/opt-out list Wednesday. Forbes, a sixth-round pick in 2019, was among those competing for the starting job at right guard.
"There should be competition at a lot of positions, that's the fun part of training camp and I think our guys are eager to compete," Stefanski said. "Drew made a decision. I respect his decision. It's the 'next man up' mentality and we'll see how it all shakes out."
Browns players arrived at the facility Tuesday morning for the start of camp