Coach Kevin Stefanski and the Cleveland Browns will be without at least five players and three coaches because of COVID-19 related issues when they face the Steelers in their finale on Sunday. Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Down at least five players and three assistant coaches, the Cleveland Browns will try to become a playoff team again.

Unable to practice most of the week because of COVID-19 cases and protocols, the Browns said Saturday that offensive line coach Bill Callahan and assistant line coach Scott Peters will miss Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers as Cleveland tries to lock up its first postseason berth since 2002.

On Friday, the team said wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea will also miss the dramatic regular-season finale after he tested positive. He’ll be replaced by chief of staff Callie Brownson, who earlier this season became the first female to handle in-game sideline coaching duties in an NFL game.

Assistant Ryan Cordell will take over for Callahan, the former Raiders and Nebraska coach in his first season with Cleveland. Callahan has been widely praised for his work with the Browns’ front, which has helped the club become one of the league’s best rushing teams.

The Browns will return to the playoffs for just their second time in their expansion era with a win over their hated rivals, who will sit quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, defensive stars T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward and other starters.

SAINTS: Running backs coach Joel Thomas won’t be with the team for Sunday’s game at Carolina.

The move comes after star running back Alvin Kamara tested positive for COVID-19 and was ruled out of the season finale.

The Saints also placed four players on the reserve/COVID-19 list – running backs Latavius Murray and Dwayne Washington, fullback Michael Burton, and safety D.J. Swearinger.

Five players were activated from the COVID-19 list – wide receivers Tommylee Lewis and Lil’Jordan Humphrey, running back Tony Jones, Jr., tight end Garrett Griffin and linebacker Andrew Dowell.

JETS: New York waived kicker Sam Ficken and activated right guard Greg Van Roten from injured reserve in a series of roster moves ahead of the season finale at New England.

Ficken, who had a field goal and an extra point blocked last week, will be replaced by Chase McLaughlin, who was claimed last month off waivers from Jacksonville.

BRONCOS: Floyd Little, the running back who starred at Syracuse and for the Denver Broncos, has died. He was 78.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame said he died Friday night at his home in Nevada. No cause was given.

“Floyd Little was not only a Hall of Fame running back, he was a Hall of Fame person,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Faith, family and football were the pillars of his life.”

Little was a three-time All-American at Syracuse, where he wore No. 44 like Jim Brown and Ernie Davis before him. From 1964-66, he ran for 2,704 yards and 46 touchdowns.

A native of New Haven, Connecticut, he was the sixth overall pick in the 1967 AFL-NFL draft. He played nine seasons in Denver, where he earned the nickname “The Franchise” because his signing was credited with keeping the team from relocating and helped persuade voters to approve funds for the old, iconic Mile High Stadium, which has since been replaced by Empower Field at Mile High.

TITANS: Tennessee is getting at least one of their kickers back for the regular season finale at Houston.

The Titans (10-5) activated three-time Pro Bowl punter Brett Kern from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday after he was placed on that list Tuesday. Four-time Pro Bowl kicker Stephen Gostkowski has been on the list since Monday.

LIONS: Detroit activated defensive tackle Danny Shelton from injured reserve and released defensive lineman Frank Herron.

Detroit also announced Saturday that it signed safety Bobby Price to the active roster from the practice squad, elevated defensive tackle Albert Huggins and center Evan Brown from the practice squad to the active/inactive list, and restored linebacker Anthony Pittman to the practice squad from the COVID-19 list.


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