Postponement Gives Browns Practice, More Time Before Raiders | Sports News

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) — Gifted two days by the NFL to presumably get more healthy, the Browns practiced for a recreation they anticipated to play Saturday.

Nothing has gone as scheduled throughout one other wild week in Cleveland.

With a protracted COVID-19 reserve listing seemingly altering by the hour, if not the minute, the Browns acquired in energetic, indoor exercise as they acquired prepared for Monday’s postponed recreation towards the Las Vegas Raiders — nonetheless not understanding what gamers can be accessible.


The Browns at present have 24 gamers, together with quarterback Baker Mayfield and 11 different starters on the COVID-19 listing, after the virus swept via the group in current days and threatened to derail Cleveland’s playoff hopes.

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The NFL’s choice to loosen up some testing insurance policies might consequence within the Browns getting again some key gamers by Monday, however coach Kevin Stefanski, who remains to be isolating after a constructive check and stays unsure for the sport, is not relying on something.

“Things are very fluid, so we’ll see how it goes in terms going to the list,” stated Stefanski, who watched Saturday’s exercise on Zoom. “In terms of guys who are coming back, we don’t know. “There’s uncertainty there and if guys make it back, great.

“If they don’t, that’s fine, too.”

Stefanski has stayed stoic. It’s about the one factor that hasn’t modified.


With it trying as in the event that they must trot out principally backups and begin third-string QB Nick Mullens towards the Raiders, the Browns (7-6) acquired a reprieve Friday when the NFL budged from its onerous stance to press ahead and moved Saturday’s recreation — together with two others — because of the uptick in COVID-19 instances throughout the league.

The transfer introduced wanted reduction to Cleveland. Vegas proprietor Mark Davis complained it left his group with a “competitive disadvantage” and Raiders cornerback Casey Hayward puzzled on Twitter if the Browns acquired a break as a result of heart JC Tretter is the NFL Players Association president.

“We’ll be ready on Monday at 5 p.m. when the game is scheduled,” Browns linebacker Anthony Walker stated in response to the Raiders’ gripes. “That is all I have to say about that one. Thanks, JC, for being on the Browns.”

It’s doable the Browns may profit from the league and NFLPA agreeing to vary testing protocols, which now require gamers to supply only one adverse COVID-19 check as a substitute of two to be eligible to return and play.

While the modification seems promising, Browns defensive finish Takk McKinley is the one participant to be activated from the listing to this point beneath the coverage change. Walker, who missed final week’s recreation and was activated Friday, stated he twice examined adverse.

McKinley’s return was offset by the Browns shedding one other beginning offensive lineman. Rookie proper deal with James Hudson III went on the listing, becoming a member of proper guard Wyatt Teller and left deal with Jedrick Wills Jr., who examined constructive earlier.

Walker felt lucky to have delicate signs.

““It’s funny, I texted my dad and was like, ‘Dude, if I would have told you the symptoms that I had, you probably would have had me definitely go to school and definitely would have had all of my after-school activities like everything was normal,’” he stated.

For Mullens, Cleveland’s COVID-19 outbreak has introduced an surprising probability for him to leap begin his profession.

The 26-year-old, who began 16 video games for San Francisco over three seasons, has spent this yr staying prepared in case of an emergency. It’s time to interrupt the glass.

And now that Mayfield and backup Case Keenum are down and perhaps out, Mullens is subsequent man up.

On Saturday, he felt invigorated after taking his first snaps with Cleveland’s first-team offense — nicely, what’s at present serving because the first-team offense.

“It felt really good to hear a play call, go execute a play call and just operate,” he stated. “We talked about clean operation. That’s the purpose. That’s what results in productive offense. It felt good. I used to be actually excited that we might get these reps.”

Mullens realizes that as shortly as he moved to the entrance of the QB line, he might be bounce to the again if Mayfield and Keenum return.

He’s prepared for no matter’s subsequent.

“This is my fifth year in the NFL,” he stated. “I’ve learned to expect anything really.”

Walker believes if Mullens steps in, the Browns will not miss a step.

“I see the way he comes in every day and prepares,” Walker stated. “I prefer to say I’m one of many first guys within the constructing every single day, and every single day I get in and Nick Mullens is at all times there earlier than me.

“A guy who comes in the building every day with the mindset of ‘I am preparing like a starter’ because you never know what could happen, he’s the epitome of that.”

NOTES: Rookie WR Anthony Schwartz returned from concussion protocol and practiced for the primary time since getting harm at New England on Nov. 14. He had been dominated out however the postponement gave him a while. He’s listed as questionable.

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