UNDATED (AP) — The Cleveland Browns’ top cornerback is back with the team after missing Cleveland’s past two games — one of them a playoff win — with COVID-19.
Denzel Ward was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday along with cornerback Kevin Johnson as the Browns began practicing for Sunday’s playoff game at Kansas City against the top-seeded Chiefs.
The Browns could use their help. They gave up 501 yards passing on Sunday to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who picked on Cleveland’s backups.
Ward’s return could be followed by coach Kevin Stefanski’s. The first-year coach also missed Sunday’s wild-card win at Pittsburgh after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. Stefanski is on track to be back at the team’s facility on Thursday.
In other NFL news:
— The Philadelphia Eagles won’t be penalized after the NFL looked into the way the team handled its quarterback decisions in the final regular-season game against Washington, according to two people familiar with the decision. Both people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to reveal the conversations. Coach Doug Pederson removed Jalen Hurts for third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of a 20-14 loss. The Eagles trailed by a field goal at the time. Sudfeld hadn’t thrown a pass in a game since 2018. He was picked on his second attempt and lost a fumble. Washington secured the NFC East title with the win and the Giants were eliminated. The loss gave Philadelphia the sixth pick in the draft instead of the ninth.
— The Chicago Bears plan to keep general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy for at least another season. Chairman George McCaskey says the team opted against sweeping changes in leadership after the Bears slipped into the playoffs despite going 8-8 for the second year in a row. The announcement comes on the heels of the Bears’ wild-card loss at New Orleans on Sunday, their second playoff appearance in three years. Chicago won the NFC North at 12-4 in 2018, which was Nagy’s first season. The Bears have two playoff appearances and a 42-54 regular-season record in six years under Pace, while Nagy is 28-20. There was speculation Pace or Nagy could be on their way out when the Bears lost six in a row this season.