CLEVELAND – The Browns will try to make the playoffs without four wide receivers, including Jarvis Landry, along with their starting middle linebacker and his likely replacement, because of a positive COVID-19 test and subsequent contact tracing.
Cleveland's game against the New York Jets will be played as scheduled, an NFL spokesman said.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield may not recognize every one in the huddle.
The stunning news for the Browns (10-4) came as they were preparing to fly to the New York area — the flight was delayed more than four hours — and potentially lock up their first postseason berth since 2002, the league's longest drought.
Starting linebacker B.J. Goodson was the first to be placed on the COVID-19 list after he tested positive. Then, after the team completed contact tracing, Landry and fellow receivers Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge were also placed on the list, knocking them out of the game.
Rookie linebacker Jacob Phillips, who may have started for Goodson, is also out.
The losses leave Mayfield without most of his top targets. Landry leads the team with 67 catches for 789 yards in the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 25.
Higgins has 35 catches and has been a go-to for Mayfield on third downs.