The Cleveland Browns will be without star running back Nick Chubb and pass-catching back Demetric Felton on Sunday against the New England Patriots due to positive COVID-19 tests.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski announced Friday that both backs would miss Sunday's contest.
Cleveland placed Chubb and Felton on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. The two running backs are vaccinated, which gave them a chance to be cleared this week with two negative tests 24 hours apart. Stefanski's Friday announcement wipes out that glimmer of hope.
Fourth-string RB John Kelly is also on the COVID-19 list and will not play, per Stefanski.
With Kareem Hunt still on injured reserve due to a calf injury, D'Ernest Johnson is the only running back on the active roster.
In Week 7 against the Denver Broncos, with both Chubb and Hunt out due to injury, Johnson shined, taking 22 carries for 146 yards and a TD and catching two passes for 22 yards. The ground-and-pound Browns will once again lean heavily on Johnson against a Patriots defense that ranks 14th in the NFL versus the run.
"I think we've talked about him over the course of the last few games, and he showed in that Denver game, where he had to carry the load, and did a nice job," Stefanski said. "So our expectations for that room don't change."
Cleveland signed running backs Brian Hill and Dexter Williams to the practice squad this week and could be elevated to the roster ahead of Sunday's game in New England.