CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns not only managed without star Myles Garrett for one game, they won.
They’ll have to try to do it again.
The dynamic end will miss this week’s game against Jacksonville as he continues to recover from the COVID-19 virus. Garrett tested positive last Friday and sat out Sunday’s 22-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
He’ll remain on the COVID list this week and won’t play against the Jaguars (1-9).
Coach Kevin Stefanski did not provide any details on Garrett’s condition Monday other than saying the team is adhering to the intensive protocols put in place by the league and players’ union on the virus and the 24-year old will not be cleared in time to face the Jaguars.
“We’re ruling him out because that’s what the protocols call for,” Stefanski said. “We’re just following the rules and will continue to do so.”
Garrett has 9 1/2 sacks and has been among the NFL’s best defensive players all season. He has four strip sacks and made numerous game-swinging plays while helping the Browns (7-3) toward their best 10-game record since 1994.
Cleveland is going for its first playoff spot since 2002.
The Browns are also anxiously awaiting MRI results on cornerback Denzel Ward’s calf. Ward had an interception, several pass breakups and played a role in a pick-6 in Sunday’s win.
Ward is having a strong season while anchoring a secondary ravaged by injuries since training camp.
Safety Ronnie Harrison appears to have dodged a serious injury after being hurt early in Sunday’s game. An MRI revealed only a bruise, and Stefanski indicated Harrison has a chance of playing at Jacksonville.
Garrett was isolated at home for two days last week and missed practice with COVID-like symptoms before he tested positive on Friday and was knocked out of the game with the Eagles. League protocols call for him to be away from the team for at least 10 days before he can return.
His status for the Jacksonville game was always in jeopardy, but the Browns removed any suspense with Monday’s announcement.
The Browns’ defense made big plays without Garrett as end Olivier Vernon had three of the unit’s five sacks and had a safety on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Linebacker Sione Takitaki returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown as Cleveland ended a five-game losing streak to Philadelphia.
“Yesterday, those guys were relentless in their pass rush,” Stefanski said. “They played the run really well and it was really a collective effort from the defensive line, and it’s something that we need from those guys every game.”
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