CLEVELAND — On Wednesday, the Cleveland Browns returned from their bye week to take the practice field in advance of Sunday's matchup with the Houston Texans.
As recently as Tuesday, it remained unclear whether they'd be doing so with their starter quarterback, with the team placing Baker Mayfield on its COVID-19 reserve list on Sunday.
Fortunately for the Browns, Mayfield -- who never tested positive for the coronavirus, but came into contact with a staff member who did -- was able to clear protocol and being activated in time for the start of Wednesday's practice. Following practice, Mayfield met with reporters via a Zoom call, where he stated that thanks to the placement of Cleveland's bye week, his stint on the COVID-19 list was hardly a setback.
"No, I mean if you look at it in a normal week, Monday's a day to review film from the day prior and get your body right," Mayfield said. "So I just treated it as an extended day of our bye week to continue getting my body right and then be in meetings and earn our bonus day, as coach calls it, and stay in tune with that."
Even considering the uncertainty of his availability, Mayfield denied being stressed about the situation.
"It kind of is what it is," he said. "You deal with it and roll with the punches. I can't control it. If I was worried about controlling it, then yeah, I would have said it would have been stressful. Like I said, it is what it is and luckily I was able to get back in the building and get back to work."
In getting back onto the field, Mayfield and the Browns are looking to build on their 5-3 record, which marked their best record through eight games since the 2014 campaign. Entering Week 10, Cleveland appears well positioned to earn a spot in the NFL Playoffs, which would bring an end to the longest playoff drought in the league (17 seasons).
With games having already been rescheduled and coronavirus numbers across the country growing, there's some skepticism as to whether the NFL will be able to finish its 2020 season in a timely manner. Speaking from his own experience this week, Mayfield said that being placed on the league's COVID-19 list served as a reminder of how careful everyone in the league must be.
"It's a full effort from everybody," he said. "Not only just players and the staff, but families of the staff, families of the players. It's everybody has a hand in the pot. And it's so true because of the close contacts. It's not just if you have COVID. It's if you've been around somebody, it's immediately, you can be out for a few days. And where it hits you in the week, it can be critical to a game or not. So yeah, lucky it was on a bye week for sure."
You can watch Mayfield's full comments in the video player below.