CLEVELAND (AP) — Joel Bitonio’s lengthy playoff wait with the Browns is over.
The Professional Bowl left guard has was activated from the COVID-19 record Friday after lacking final week’s wild-card win over Pittsburgh.
Cleveland’s longest tenured participant, Bitonio needed to isolate at residence and missed his first profession postseason recreation — and the Browns’ first for the reason that 2002 season. It was a devastating improvement for Bitiono, who had endured a lot dropping with the Browns earlier than this turnaround season.
However he’ll get his long-awaited likelihood to play within the postseason this week. The Browns, who surprised the Steelers within the wild-card spherical, face the Tremendous Bowl champion Kansas Metropolis Chiefs on Sunday within the AFC divisional spherical.
Bitonio was one in every of a number of Browns gamers and coaches to be sidelined over the previous three weeks with the coronavirus.
Bitonio’s return is a big increase for Cleveland’s stable offensive line, which has needed to regulate quite a few occasions over the previous few weeks due to accidents and COVID-19.
Final week, Michael Dunn, who barely performed all season, began in Bitonio’s spot and performed exceptionally earlier than struggling a season-ending calf harm. He was changed by Blake Hance, who had simply been signed off the New York Jets’ apply squad and first met Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield within the locker room earlier than the sport at Heinz Subject.
One other fear this week for the Browns is All-Professional proper deal with Jack Conklin. He’s missed the previous two days of apply with a hamstring harm sustained early within the win over Pittsburgh.
The Browns have slowly been getting key items again this week.
On Wednesday, coach Kevin Stefanski returned in particular person to the crew after additionally lacking final week’s recreation with COVID-19. He ready the crew nearly for the Steelers however then watched the win over the Steelers from his basement at residence.
Prime cornerback Denzel Ward and cornerback Kevin Johnson each had been activated from the COVID-19 record, and so they’re wanted greater than ever towards Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his arsenal of offensive threats.
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