The Cleveland Browns entered the NFL's enhanced protocols on Tuesday after eight players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Browns' recent tests revealed that both head coach Kevin Stefanski and quarterback Baker Mayfield have tested positive for COVID-19.
Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield is said to “feel completely normal”, per a source, but he has tested positive for COVID. Now Case Keenum is in line to start Saturday vs. the Raiders, with Nick Mullens as his backup.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 15, 2021
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and quarterback Baker Mayfield have tested positive for COVID-19, per the Cleveland organization and ESPN reporter Adam Schefter.
Stefanski is vaccinated and has a booster shot, so he has a chance of returning rather quickly, as long as he produces two negative tests. Mayfield, per Schefter, feels completely normal, though he will still need to test negative twice to play Sunday.
If Stefanski is still testing positive, the Browns have said that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as the acting head coach, with offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt calling the plays. Meanwhile, Case Keenum, who earned a victory earlier in the year against the Denver Broncos, will be in line to start in place of Mayfield.
The news of Stefanski's positive test comes after the Browns placed six starting players on the reserve/COVID list. Cleveland will now have to take on the Las Vegas Raiders without a chunk of their starting lineup, possibly their head coach in Stefanski and quarterback in Mayfield.
As of right now, the NFL has no plans to cancel or postpone the contest, as they did last year for a game involving the Baltimore Ravens, though the Browns do have player tests, in addition to the one for Mayfield, still coming in.
If Cleveland receives more positive tests from players in addition to the one from Kevin Stefanski and Baker Mayfield, the league may have to consider postponing the game.