EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Baker Mayfield got more bad COVID-19 news as the Browns prepared to try to clinch a playoff spot against the 1-13 Jets at MetLife Stadium.
His starting rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. was downgraded to out hours before the game with an illness. He tested negative for COVID-19, but had just been activated off the COVID reserve list on Saturday after being placed on it Thursday as a close contact of a person outside the organization who tested positive.
Wills flew separately from the rest of the team on Saturday night as a precaution. He’s the seventh Browns player ruled out for this game because of either an illness or COVID-19 protocols, and the second starting offensive lineman to miss this game, in which the Browns can clinch a playoff spot with a victory and a loss or tie by the Ravens or Colts.
Sixth-year pro Kendall Lamm will start in his place, and rookie Nick Harris is starting for Wyatt Teller (ankle) at right guard. It marks Lamm’s 27th NFL start and Harris’ first.
Six Browns players were placed on COVID-19 reserve on Saturday: Recievers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge; and linebackers Jacob Phillips and B.J. Goodson. Goodson tested positive on Saturday morning and the other players were high-risk contacts.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the game is still being played because no one else is at risk for virus transmission.
The Browns had to call up two receivers from the practice squad to play in this game: Ja’Marcus Bradley and Derrick Willies, who played with Mayfield at Texas Tech and played for the Browns in 2018 before breaking his collarbone in October.
The Jets beat the Rams last week to avoid going 0-16.
New Browns face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Browns-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection for adults and youth, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). All NFL proceeds donated to CDC Foundation.
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