The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 1:00 am

NFL notebook

Shorthanded Browns lose 2 more

Associated Press

CLEVELAND – As the Browns wait for Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio and top cornerback Denzel Ward to return from COVID-19 and join their playoff run, the team lost their replacements to injuries.

Cleveland placed guard Michael Dunn and cornerback Robert Jackson on injured reserve Tuesday, losing two players who started Sunday's playoff win at Pittsburgh while Bitonio and Ward remain sidelined with the virus.

Dunn injured his calf during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 48-37 wild-card win while Jackson suffered a hamstring injury. Both are done for the season.

Bitonio tested positive last week along with coach Kevin Stefanski. Ward tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 31 and was eligible to return last week, but wasn't ready. Compounding his absence is that cornerback Kevin Johnson is also out with COVID-19.

Stefanski said he expects to rejoin his team on Thursday. He watched Sunday's game from his home.

Packers sign ex-Colts tackle

Offensive tackle Jared Veldheer is back with Green Bay, giving him an opportunity to compete in playoff games for different teams on back-to-back weekends.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said that Veldheer practiced with the team, making him available for their NFC divisional playoff game Saturday with the Rams.

Veldheer, 33, was the Colts' starting left tackle for their final two games, including the AFC first-round playoff loss to Buffalo.

Because the Colts merely elevated him from the practice squad and didn't sign him to their 53-man roster, the Packers were able to sign him. Veldheer joined the Packers late last season and was their starting right tackle for a divisional playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Extra points

Las Vegas hired Gus Bradley as their new defensive coordinator. ... Seattle agreed to a contract extension with general manager John Schneider that will keep him tied to the franchise through the 2027 draft. ... Buffalo signed running back Devonta Freeman to their practice squad tafter placing rookie Zack Moss (ankle) on season-ending injured reserve. Freeman is eligible to begin practicing, though it's unclear if he'll be up to speed in time for Saturday's divisional-round game against Baltimore. ... Seattle fired offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

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