Baker Mayfield finally fired some passes on Friday — none, though, to Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham missed another practice with the Browns due to COVID-19 protocols, but Mayfield, who has been slowed this week by sore ribs, appears ready to play in Sunday’s hyped AFC North matchup against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers.
Beckham’s status remains uncertain after Cleveland’s star wide receiver was kept away from the team’s facility for the second straight day. He was sent home feeling ill on Thursday.
Beckham tested negative for coronavirus on Friday, but per league guidelines, he can’t rejoin his teammates and practice until he has a second negative COVID test within a 24-hour period. The team listed him as questionable for the matchup against the Steelers (4-0).
Coach Kevin Stefanski offered few details about Beckham other than saying he’s improving and that he’ll play Sunday — if cleared.
“He is doing better, yes,” said Stefanski, noting that Beckham has taken part in Zoom meetings. “If all goes according to plan for tomorrow, you spend even more time and you spend even more walk-through time. I think there is enough time to catch him up, barring his health.”
The Browns had zero positive tests Friday and their building in Berea, Ohio, remained open.
Meanwhile, the Steelers said they will be without Pro Bowl guard David DeCastro and wide receiver Diontae Johnson. DeCastro will miss his third game of the season with an abdominal injury. Johnson, Pittsburgh’s second-leading receiver behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, injured his back on a punt return last week against the Eagles.
Colts get good news on tests
The Indianapolis Colts closed their practice facility Friday after “several individuals” tested positive for COVID-19, then the retests came back negative.
“Earlier this morning, we were informed that four individuals within the organization tested positive for COVID-19,” the team said in a late-morning statement. "The four positive samples were retested and have been confirmed negative.
“After consultation with the NFL and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills, the team will open the practice facility this afternoon under the league’s intensive protocol and will continue preparation for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.”
Garoppolo says he’s on mend
Jimmy Garoppolo’s sprained right ankle felt much better this week in practice, making the San Francisco 49ers confident their quarterback can bounce back from a rough performance last week that got him pulled at halftime.
Garoppolo initially injured the ankle in a Week 2 win against the New York Jets and returned last Sunday against Miami after being limited most of the week at practice. He never looked comfortable and threw two interceptions before getting pulled at halftime during a 43-17 loss to the Dolphins.
“It’s feeling great this week. It really is,” Garoppolo said Friday. “Just made a lot of improvements, just a couple extra days I think to consistently get better. So, it’s just one of those things you’ve just got to keep working at it.”
RB Cook out for Vikings
NFL leading rusher Dalvin Cook will sit out Minnesota’s game on Sunday against Atlanta because of a groin injury, giving Alexander Mattison the opportunity for his first career start at running back. The Vikings have their bye scheduled for next week, so Cook’s absence was likely after getting hurt in the second half last week at Seattle. Mattison rushed for a career-high 112 yards in relief … Seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones returned to practice as a limited participant and hopes to play Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons visit the Minnesota Vikings. Jones has played just one half of the last three games because of a hamstring injury. Friday marked the first day he was able to get on the field in the last two weeks … Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur said wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive tackle Kenny Clark will be “ready to go” Sunday at Tampa Bay after both players missed multiple games with injuries. Adams caught 14 passes in the season opener to tie Hall of Famer Don Hutson’s 78-year-old team single-game record, but the three-time Pro Bowl selection injured his hamstring the following week against Detroit and has missed the Packers' last two games … The Jacksonville Jaguars could be without Pro Bowl receiver DJ Chark against Detroit on Sunday. Coach Doug Marrone listed Chark as questionable (chest, ankle) for the game. If he can’t go, Chark would be sidelined for the second time in four weeks. He has 18 catches for 220 yards and three touchdowns this season.