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Armando Salguero: NFL Coach Takes COVID Booster, Tests Positive For COVID Anyway

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On Monday the NFL announced it is mandating Tier 1 and Tier 2 staff — including head coaches, their assistants and others — take the COVID-19 boosters, ostensibly to help stem the recent uptick in positive tests around the league.

The league also said it was wise to follow CDC guidelines, which recommend the boosters.

On Tuesday, Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, whose team has had multiple positive tests in recent days, announced he was already boosted.

“We have definitely educated players and staff on the booster,’’ he said. “I’m not going to get into the specifics with that. I can tell you that I’m boosted because that doesn’t violate any laws.”

On Wednesday morning, Stefanski tested positive for COVID-19.

Stefanski is now in isolation. The team says he is feeling fine, but he must now test negative on two consecutive testing cycles 24 hours apart to be able to return to work and be on the sideline Saturday when Cleveland plays the Las Vegas Raiders.

Browns special teams coach Mike Preifer will serve as acting head coach for the third time in his career. Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will be the acting offensive playcaller.

All of Cleveland’s coaches have been vaccinated and a majority have already met the NFL mandate for getting a booster, per a source. However, running back coach Ryan Cordell also tested positive and is in isolation.

The Browns added eight players to COVID-19 reserve lists on Tuesday for a total of 11.

The players added to the list include receiver Jarvis Landry, tight end Austin Hooper, guard Wyatt Teller, left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., guard Drew Forbes, defensive end Takk McKinley, and two practice squad players, receiver JoJo Natson and tight end Ross Travis.

Tight end David Njoku, punter Jamie Gillan and linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. were previously on the COVID-19 reserve list for the Browns.

All the players must test negative twice 24 hours apart to come off the reserve list and be allowed to play. The deadline for a Saturday game is 4 p.m. on Friday.

The Browns are still in their testing phase this morning. It’s possible more players may test positive.

[Update: Starting QB Baker Mayfield has tested positive this morning.]

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

5 Comments

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  1. I’m not sure why this is so difficult for people to understand – the shot doesn’t prevent you from getting Covid! It just means you’re more likely to be less sick or not sick at all when you get it. The REAL problem here is testing. If you get the shot w/without the booster, there should be no testing of ANY asymptomatic people. NONE. If people who haven’t chosen to get the shot get sick, then they get sick. Stop this insanity.

  2. Last year before the Vaccine was available over 200 NFL players tested positive. Not only did no one die, but to the best of my knowledge no player was hospitalized.
    Now 95% of the players have taken the vaccine and so far there have been over 150 positive tests (With four games to go). No deaths or hospitalizations this year either.
    Based upon the NFL universe a pretty good case can be made that the vaccine does not make too much of a difference in the cases contracted, And certainly no difference on deaths or hospitalizations since no one was going to the hospital or morgue to begin with.
    How about the NFL makes the vaccines and masks available and lets the players choose and play?
    Players who have symptoms need to some time off until the symptoms subside and they feel better.
    Makes as much sense as anything the NFL has done.

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