The Cleveland Browns found out this week that punter and fan-favorite Jamie Gillan tested positive for COVID-19.
While some positive tests were expected when the team reported to camp, what was unexpected about Gillian’s test is that he said he already had it.
“I thought I was just tired (after July 4th weekend),’’ Gillan told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. “I went and punted and kicked. I had two days of symptoms where I was achy and had a fever. The third day I had no fever or symptoms. I found out July 9th I had it. I did approximately two weeks of quarantine from the 9th and then went back to living normally. I tested positive for antibodies (Tuesday). Then yesterday, somehow, I test positive. I feel great as it’s been almost a month since I initially tested positive. Remember, we’re all in this together. Wear a mask.”
Gillan won the punting job in camp last year as an undrafted free agent, beating out veteran Britton Colquitt. He appeared in all 16 games last season and set a Browns single-season net punting record with a 41.6 average and finished tied for fifth in club history with 28 punts inside the 20.
Gillan joined running back Dontrell Hilliard and safety Jovante Moffatt as players who have tested positive and placed on the new reserve/COVID-19 list. Players must test positive three times before being able to re-enter the facility for training camp.
Browns Teams Doctor: Football Not Risk-Free Sport
Dr. James Voos, the Browns team physician, said while speaking to the media this week that it could be tough to keep the spread down in a sport like football.
“It is very challenging in any sport to avoid coming into contact or being near another player,’’ Voos said. “Again, that’s where we rely heavily on the testing and symptom screening and then the time spent in that environment of being in contact with each other is limited to the extent [that it occurs].
“There’s no doubt this is not a 100-percent risk-free sport, and no sport is 100-percent risk free. We want to rely on all of the other tools around us to ensure that they are safe. These types of environments really spawn innovation, and as our equipment continues to evolve, we want to utilize that equipment as much as we possibly can, as well, to provide that extra layer of protection, if at all possible.”
Browns Release Four Players to Get Roster to 80
The Browns trimmed their roster down to the 80-man limit on Friday, parting ways with WR Tony Brown, LB Jermaine Grace, DE George Obinna and DT Justin Zimmer, who had a non-football injury. Zimmer and Grace had very light NFL experience, while the two were undrafted free agent acquisitions by the Browns.
Teams can have 80 players as long as they practice in split-squads, as agreed upon by the NFL and NFLPA.
Earlier in the week, offensive guard Drew Forbes and tackle Drake Dorbeck were placed on the reserve/opt-out list on Wednesday, thinning out the depth on the offensive line. Forbes joined the Browns as a sixth-round pick in 2019 and appeared in one game last season. Dorbeck is an undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi.
The team said in a release that any player may opt out of participating in the 2020 NFL season for any reason. The player must provide the club with written notice of his election to opt out. Once given, the notice will be irrevocable for the remainder of the 2020 season.
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