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Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. tests negative for COVID-19 again, expected to play vs. Steelers

Akron Beacon Journal — By Nate Ulrich Akron Beacon Journal

Oct. 17-- Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday after testing negative for COVID-19 a second time while recovering from an illness.

All of the Cleveland Browns' tests from Friday came back negative Saturday morning, a person familiar with the situation said, so Beckham was cleared to return to team headquarters.

The Browns had a walkthrough session later in the day, then bused to Pittsburgh. Beckham traveled with the club.

The Browns (4-1) sent Beckham home from work Thursday with an illness, but the wide receiver didn't test positive for the coronavirus. In fact, he has had two tests return as negative since then.

The NFL recently instructed teams to keep members of their organizations out of club facilities if they begin to experience symptoms such as coughs and sore throats. Symptomatic individuals need two negative COVID-19 tests separated by 24 hours to rejoin their team in person. Beckham just went through the protocols.

On Friday, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Beckham felt well enough to face the Steelers (4-1) in an AFC North showdown at Heinz Field.

"He's doing better, yes," Stefanski said on Zoom.

The Browns officially listed Beckham as questionable to play Sunday, but Stefanski made it clear Beckham is expected to play as long as he continues to test negative. The results from the Saturday testing of all players will be known prior to Sunday's games.

As far as Beckham missing Thursday and Friday's practices, Stefanski didn't seem worried. He explained Beckham "got some good work in Wednesday" during practice, had been in virtual meetings Thursday and Friday and would be able to participate in a walk-through session Saturday as long as he were granted re-entry into the team's Berea training facility. He was.

"I think there's enough time to catch him up," Stefanski said.

Beckham is tied for the team lead in catches (21), holds the lead in receiving yards (294) and is tied for the lead in touchdown receptions (three). He also has three carries for 72 yards and a TD this season. He hasn't missed a game since joining the Browns, who traded for him in March 2019. He played with a core muscle injury throughout last season and had surgery in January.

ROSTER MOVE

The Browns elevated undrafted rookie safety Elijah Benton from the practice squad to the active roster. The team is thin at the position because Karl Joseph (hamstring) and Ronnie Harrison (concussion) were ruled out Friday against the Steelers.

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