Cleveland Browns delay flight after player tests positive for COVID-19

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates with teammate Austin Hooper (81) after they connect for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns delayed their flight to the New York area for Sunday’s game against the Jets to conduct contact tracing after a player tested positive for COVID-19.

The team issued a statement Saturday announcing the positive test and said it has closed its facility for tracing. The Browns had been scheduled to leave Cleveland at 2:45 p.m., but players have been told to stay home until the tracing is finished. The player who tested positive was not immediately identified.

The Browns (10-4) are closing in on their first playoff appearance since 2002 and can potentially clinch a berth with a win over the Jets (1-13).

Also, the team has not yet said if rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills will play. Wills, the No. 10 overall draft pick from Alabama, was placed on the COVID-19 list Thursday after having close contact with a person outside the team.

As long as he doesn’t test positive, Wills could be activated before the team leaves for its game.

Wills is an important part of an offensive line that’s taken some hits lately.

Starting right guard Wyatt Teller will miss his second game in a row Sunday with a sprained ankle and the Browns lost versatile lineman Chris Hubbard for the season with a knee injury suffered in a win over the Giants. Rookie Nick Harris will make his first career start in Teller’s spot.

Like numerous NFL teams, the Browns have been dealing with positive cases for most of the season. Defensive star Myles Garrett missed two games after contracting the virus. He said last week he was still struggling with lingering effects from the illness and continued to undergo breathing treatments.

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