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Covid-19 outbreak sidelines multiple Browns players ahead of Patriots matchup

Related: Patriots vs. Panthers injury analysis: New England’s running back depth takes some big hits

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

It appears the Coronavirus pandemic could have a major impact on the New England Patriots’ upcoming game against the Cleveland Browns. According to multiple reports, the Browns are dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak and were forced to send multiple players to the NFL’s special reserve list.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, running backs Nick Chubb, Demetric Felton and John Kelly have all tested positive for Covid-19 in the past few days. They are joining practice squad wide receiver Lawrence Cager and cornerback Brian Mills on the Coronavirus reserve list now, leaving their status for Sunday’s game in question.

The biggest name on that list is Nick Chubb. The former second-round draft pick is the Browns’ leader in both scrimmage yards and touchdowns, and a big part of the team’s offensive attack.

Both he and Demetric Felton have been vaccinated, though, which means that there is a chance they could still be reactivated before Sunday’s game in New England. The two would need two negative Coronavirus tests 24 hours apart to be cleared to play. Until those happen, however, they will need to stay quarantined and are barred from participating in any in-facility activities such as practices.

The outbreak is putting considerable pressure on the Browns’ running back group and leaving D’Ernest Johnson as the only available player at the position right now. Cleveland could decide to return Kareem Hunt from injured reserve, but his status is uncertain as well at this point in time.

Cleveland’s Week 10 opponent, meanwhile, is facing some running-back-related questions as well. Patriots runners Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are both in concussion protocol after exiting last Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter. The only other backs under contract are veteran Brandon Bolden and second-year man J.J. Taylor.

The high-stakes meeting between New England and Cleveland — both teams are 5-4 and fighting for playoff positioning — will be kicked off at 1:00 p.m. ET at Foxborough’s Gillette Stadium.