Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry dead set on pulling off win for Joel Bitonio
Joel Bitonio is currently the Cleveland Browns’ longest-standing veteran. He’s been with the Browns for the past seven seasons, and it is more than unfortunate that the 29-year-old will miss out on Sunday’s playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers — Cleveland’s first postseason appearance in nearly two decades — after testing positive for COVID-19. Teammates Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry spoke out about what Bitonio’s absence means for the Browns.
According to Mayfield, not having Bitonio out there with the rest of the squad on Sunday is going to be a huge loss for the Browns:
“I know we have other guys missing, but for Joel – somebody who’s a great person, a great leader, a father, a great husband – to have put in his time here, endured a lot of things, the longest-tenured Brown and to not be able to play in the first playoff experience, it is very unfortunate,’’ Browns QB Baker Mayfield said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (h/t Curtis Crabtree of NBS Sports). “We feel for him. That would be the only thing taking away from the excitement.”
Landry seconded his quarterback’s sentiments, while also saying that they are all dedicating Sunday’s game to their embattled teammate.
“He’s important to our team,’’ Browns vet Jarvis Landry said Thursday. “He’s important to the Cleveland Browns and the history that we’ve accomplished this year. It sucks what he’s going through to be able to be here for the time that he’s been here and now be in this position and he can’t even play the game because of the circumstances.
“This is definitely one for Joel, absolutely.”
The loss of Bitonio goes way beyond the sentimental aspect. He’s also been one of the best guards in the league this season, and he’s provided excellent coverage for Mayfield throughout the campaign.
Brows wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge also tested positive for COVID-19 and will be unavailable for Sunday’s highly-anticipated matchup.