BEREA, Ohio — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above is from a previous story
The Browns' offseason organized team activities (OTAs) came to a screeching halt Tuesday after one of the team's player's tested positive for COVID-19, a league source confirms to 3News.
"A couple close contacts" were also identified, but it is unknown if any will have to quarantine. NFL protocols require all team personnel who become close contacts of someone who tests positive for the coronavirus to quarantine for at least 10 days unless they are fully vaccinated against the disease.
The Athletic's Lindsay Jones was the first to report the story, saying the unnamed player's results came back positive "before on-field work began" and he was immediately sent home. She adds at least some of the "several" players who are close contacts have indeed been fully inoculated and can continue as normal so long as they don't exhibit symptoms, but several others had only received their first dose of the vaccine, and therefore do not have maximum protection.
OTAs have been a major point of contention this offseason, with the NFL Players Association urging its members not to attend due to concerns regarding health protocols. The Browns (led by starting center and NFLPA President JC Tretter) released a statement last month saying they would not attend the voluntary workouts, but just this past Monday Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer wrote Cleveland players and coaches "were working toward a deal" to bring the team to Berea for in-person activities. It appears at least some players did indeed show up before today's test results.
The Browns had several run-ins with COVID last season before the vaccines became available, including an incident that saw several players miss time over a three-week period after either testing positive for the virus or being identified as close contacts. Cleveland still managed to make the playoffs and knock out the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild card round before falling to the eventual AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs in a divisional battle.
It is unknown how today's events will affect OTAs going forward. The Browns were scheduled to meet through Thursday this week and again on June 1-3 and July 7-10.