Browns lose another player vs; Jets, starting LT Wills out

Sports

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski watches late during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Cleveland. The Ravens won 47-42. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Already down their four top wide receivers due to COVID-19 protocols, the Cleveland Browns will also be without starting rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills when they play the New York Jets on Sunday with a possible playoff spot on the line.

Wills was ruled out after the team got to New Jersey. Their trip was delayed Saturday after starting linebacker B.J. Goodson was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list and four receivers, including top target Jarvis Landry, were ruled out due to close contact.

Wills, who started the first 14 games, was downgraded to out with an illness. Kendall Lamm will replace him as the Browns (10-4) try to earn their first postseason berth since 2002.

With so many key players missing, the Browns had to call up reserves from their practice squad for the game.

A few hours before kickoff, coach Kevin Stefanski held a walk-through in a parking lot near the team’s hotel to get some of the new players up to speed on the game plan. The Browns stayed at the same hotel a week ago when they played the New York Giants.

The No. 10 overall pick this year, Wills had been placed on the COVID-19 list on Thursday after being in close contact with someone outside the team who had tested positive. Wills was activated on Saturday before becoming ill. It’s not yet known if he has the virus.

The loss of Wills further depletes Cleveland’s offensive line; starting right guard Wyatt Teller will miss his second straight game with a sprained ankle. Rookie Nick Harris will start for Teller.

In addition to Landry, the Browns will be missing receivers Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge and linebacker Jacob Phillips. They were placed on the COVID-19 list on Saturday before the team flew to the New York area.

Lamm has made 26 career starts. He moved up the depth chart after versatile lineman Chris Hubbard suffered a season-ending knee injury last week against the New York Giants.

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