CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns didn’t have much time to celebrate their biggest win this season before being hit with another off-field issue.
Star running back Nick Chubb was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list Tuesday after testing positive and could miss this week’s game at New England, the latest obstacle for a Cleveland team that spent last week working out a separation with Odell Beckham Jr.
One of the NFL’s best backs, Chubb was placed on the list along with rookie running back/wide receiver Demetric Felton.
The Browns have had four positive tests in the past two days after having a few problems most of this season.
It’s still possible that Chubb and Felton, who are both vaccinated, could play against the Patriots this week as long as they’re symptom-free and have two negative tests separated by 24 hours.
Cleveland will practice Wednesday and the team said its media availabilities will revert to being virtual for now due to more restrictive protocols.
Last week, the Browns (5-4) spent several days dealing with a major distraction caused by Beckham Jr., who was excused from the team and then ultimately released.
Cleveland tuned out the Beckham drama and played its most complete game on Sunday while blowing out the Cincinnati Bengals 41-16.
Chubb’s situation is the newest dilemma.
“It’s like for every good news, there’s something bad that happens,” said guard Wyatt Teller, who Tuesday signed a four-year, $56.8 million contract extension. “What is this, the world? But no, it sucks. I hope the best for them. I think they were vaxxed.
“I really hope they’re back quickly, no symptoms. Let’s just hope that it was very minor. I wouldn’t wish that on my enemy. It does suck, but that’s something for them to handle and them to work on.”
The Browns had major issues with the coronavirus last season. Coach Kevin Stefanski had to miss Cleveland’s first playoff game since 2003 when he tested positive a few days before the wild-card matchup at Pittsburgh.
The team also played without most of its wide receivers against the New York Jets because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
“One game, we had like 15 dudes in a hot tub that you’re only supposed to have about five and we got in trouble and they all had to sit out a game and we had no wide receivers,” Teller said. “I feel like if you follow the rules, you do the right things, it gives you the best opportunity to get back.
“That’s not how it always works. There’s times where this happens or that happens, but it’s happening to everybody.”
The Browns have avoided similar widespread problems this season. However, the positive tests for Chubb and Felton came a day after the running back John Kelly and practice squad wide receiver Lawrence Cager were put on COVID-19 lists.
With Kareem Hunt on injured reserve and out indefinitely with a calf injury, the Browns currently have just one healthy running back — D’Ernest Johnson — and may have to sign players for depth.
Chubb rushed for 137 yards and scored two touchdowns in Sunday’s win. One of the scores came on a 70-yard run on which Chubb was clocked at 21.1 mph.
The 25-year-old has 721 yards and six touchdowns this season despite missing two games with a calf injury.