BEREA, Ohio — As a crucial Week 15 matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders approaches, the Cleveland Browns have entered the NFL's enhanced COVID-19 protocols.
As a result, all team meetings on Tuesday will be held virtually, with all tiered personnel being masked while indoors at the team's facility in Berea.
The Browns entering enhanced protocols also indicates that multiple team members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest round of testing. On Monday, the NFL reported 37 positive COVID-19 tests across the league, an unusually high number in comparison to previous weeks.
According to ESPN's Dan Graziano, the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases -- which has mirrored nationwide trends -- has led the NFL and the NFL Players Association to consider enhanced COVID-19 protocols league-wide heading into the final four weeks of the 2021 season.
Last week, the Browns placed tight end David Njoku, linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. and punter Jamie Gillan on the COVID-19 list. All three players ultimately missed Cleveland's 24-22 win over the Baltimore Ravens, which moved the Browns to 7-6 on the season and second place in the AFC North.
With four games remaining, Cleveland finds itself in the thick of the AFC playoff picture, with possible paths to either an AFC North divisional title or second consecutive wild card spot. Doing either, however, could require the Browns to win three of their final four games, which include three games against opponents who also remain in the AFC playoff race, including two in the AFC North.