CLEVELAND, Ohio — Odell Beckham Jr.’s COVID-19 test came back negative today, as did that of everyone else in the building, and the Browns facility is open today, a league source told cleveland.com.
It means the Browns’ game in Pittsburgh for Sunday at 1 p.m. is still on.
Beckham was sent home with an illness on Thursday, and the Browns were awaiting his test results on Friday. He will remain at home today and sit out practice with his symptoms, per the COVID-19 protocol. The NFL issued new guidelines on Thursday stating that anyone with flu-like symptoms such a cough, sore throat or nasal congestion must remain at home regardless of whether they’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Beckham must return a second negative test within 24 hours in order to be cleared to rejoin the team.
There was concern Friday morning that the Browns might have a larger issue, because the Colts, who played at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday, closed their facility Friday morning because of several positive tests.
But the tests of all Browns players and staffers came back negative on Friday, and it’s currently all systems go unless someone tests positive between now and the game.
The Browns practice at 11:15 today, and the first 15 minutes are open to the media.
The Colts’ news threw the Browns’ situation into jeopardy because of their game this past Sunday.
“This morning, we were informed that several individuals within our organization have tested positive for COVID-19,” the Colts statement said. “The team is currently in the process of confirming those tests. In the meantime, the practice facility will be closed and the team will work remotely while following NFL protocols. We are in communication with the NFL and will have more information when available.”
The Falcons also reopened facility on Friday after a staffer tested positive Thursday and a player was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.
The Colts news comes days after 10 NFL teams had their schedules changed because of positive tests on several teams. The Titans, who had 23 members of the organization test positive, had to reschedule two games because of the virus. Other prominent players, such as Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, have tested positive.
“With this day and age, you just have to be so careful in this environment so just want to make sure we are being proactive in that regard,” Stefanski said Thursday about sending Beckham home in the morning. “[He was] just feeling under the weather. You guys have heard it said – abundance of caution.”
The Browns’ decision was consistent with new guidelines outlined Thursday by NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills, that anyone with flu-like symptoms such as coughs, sore throats and stuffy noses will be sent home now that flu season has arrived.
“Even if they have a negative [COVID-19] test that day, we’re going to hold that individual out of the facility,” Sills said on a conference call. “When in doubt, we’re going to go with the most conservative (approach).”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a conference call on Tuesday, didn’t rule out postponing the Super Bowl, which is set for Feb. 7 in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
“If there’s one consistent theme to our season, it’s flexibility and adapting,” he said.
Stefanski acknowledged the Browns would have to shut down the facility if Beckham or anyone else tested positive. The 4-0 Steelers have already had their Week 4 game against the Titans postponed until Oct. 25 in Week 7.
The Browns had a COVID-19 scare in Aug. 23 when double-digit members of the organization tested positive, then were retested and the tests came back negative. They reinstated practice that day, but Stefanski and others weren’t able to attend until they got their negative tests back the next day.