Browns place Olivier Vernon on IR, Joel Bitonio and KhaDarel Hodge on COVID-19 list

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Getty Images

The Browns made the postseason for the first time since 2002 but it’s been hard to find the positives for the club since then.

On Tuesday afternoon, the club officially placed defensive end Olivier Vernon (achilles) and offensive lineman Nick Harris (knee) on injured reserve. The club also placed left guard Joel Bitonio and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Both players reportedly tested positive, meaning they’re out for Sunday’s wild-card matchup with the Steelers.

Vernon ruptured his achilles during last week’s win over Pittsburgh. The defensive end finished the year with 9.0 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

A rookie out of Washington, Harris appeared in 12 games, starting the Week 16 loss to the Jets for right guard Wyatt Teller. He did not practice in Week 17 with the knee injury. Were he not injured, he would be a candidate to replace Bitonio at left guard.

Center J.C. Tretter said he expects the Browns facility to still be closed on Wednesday as the Browns continue contact tracing for their apparently COVID-19 outbreak. Head coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive on Tuesday and will be out for the playoff game.