The Browns' trip back to MetLife Stadium for Sunday's game against the Jets has met a delay -- and a massive pothole.
Cleveland placed its entire starting receiving corps -- Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge -- on the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, as well as linebackers B.J. Goodson and Jacob Phillips, the team announced. The Browns elevated receivers Ja'Marcus Bradkley and Derrick Willies, and linebacker Montrel Meander from the practice squad in corresponding roster moves.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the four receivers were placed on the COVID list due to being considered high-risk close contacts.
Rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.
The Browns had announced earlier they closed their facility Saturday and their flight to New Jersey was delayed while contact tracing was being conducted following a positive player test for COVID-19. Cleveland then announced the placement of Goodson on the reserve/COVID-19 list, dealing a blow to Cleveland's already-thin linebacking corps.
The latter development wiped out its receiving corps, angering at least one pass-catcher.
The Browns will have to rely on their lone active receiver, Marvin Hall, who has been with the team for less than three weeks. They'll also turn to Bradley, who has appeared in just two career games, and 2019 training camp standout Willies, a long receiver who caught three passes in five games as a rookie in 2018 before losing out on a roster spot on cut-down day in 2019. At linebacker, the Browns will need Meander, who has bounced around practice squads since 2018 before making 2020 his first official NFL season, appearing in two games
The news of the positive test and contact tracing also caused a lengthy delay for the team's departure flight to New Jersey.
Cleveland is set to face the New York Jets at 1 p.m. ET Sunday at MetLife Stadium, where the Browns defeated the New York Giants a week ago on Sunday Night Football. With a win and a Colts loss, Cleveland can clinch a playoff spot. But as Browns fans of the last two decades know all too well, it won't be easy, even against a team tied for the league's worst record.