Myles Garrett has been slowed just when the Browns need him most.
Cleveland’s dynamic star defensive end and the NFL’s leader in sacks will miss Sunday’s game against Philadelphia — and maybe more — after testing positive for COVID-19, dealing the Browns a major blow as they try to end an 18-year playoff drought.
The Browns (6-3) won’t have Garrett against the Eagles and there’s no predicting when he’ll be back. According to league rules, a player who tests positive for coronavirus can’t return to the team until at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms, plus at least 24 hours after symptoms have passed.
Garrett stayed home from practice Wednesday and Thursday because he was showing symptoms. After facing the Eagles (3-5-1), the Browns will visit Jacksonville on Nov. 29.
Coach Kevin Stefanski said he wasn’t sure exactly when Garrett first began experiencing coronavirus symptoms, which would trigger the start to a timeline for his return.
Brees to miss three games on IR
The Saints placed quarterback Drew Brees on injured reserve Friday, meaning he’ll miss at least three games with rib injuries.
Brees was unable to finish last Sunday’s game after absorbing a heavy hit on a sack attempt by 287-pound San Francisco defensive tackle Kentavius Street, who was penalized for roughing on the play.
Street landed on the right side of Brees’s torso as the two went to the ground, and Brees was diagnosed Monday with rib fractures and a collapsed lung.
Brees, 41, has played efficiently this season for New Orleans, completing 73.5 percent of his passes for 2,196 yards and 18 touchdowns with three interceptions in nine games games.
An injured reserve designation previously would end a players’ season with fewer than eight games remaining, but this year the NFL has adopted more flexible roster rules because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Brees already was not expected to play this week. New Orleans’s other two quarterbacks are Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, who have been splitting time working with first-team receivers during periods of practice open to reporters.
Sean Payton declined after practice Friday to publicly name a starter for Sunday’s home game against Atlanta, but also said he had made a decision.
Stafford, Bridgewater both may be sidelined
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and Carolina’s Teddy Bridgewater are both questionable for Sunday’s game — and aside from those two quarterbacks, several other players are dealing with injuries for the two teams.
Stafford, who has been dealing with a right thumb injury, was limited in practice Friday. Bridgewater was also limited with a right knee sprain, and Panthers coach Matt Rhule said he would be a game-time decision. If Bridgewater can’t play, Will Grier or P.J. Walker would start at quarterback. Bridgewater was hurt in his team’s loss to Tampa Bay last weekend.
Running back D’Andre Swift (concussion) and receivers Kenny Golladay (hip) and Danny Amendola (hip) were ruled out for Detroit on Friday. Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) is also going to miss the game.
Washington’s Snyder blocking partial sale because of feud
A group of investors from California has offered to pay $900 million for a 40 percent stake in the Washington Football Team, according to two people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Washington Post, but majority owner Daniel Snyder is standing in the way as part of an ongoing feud with one of the minority owners trying to sell.
The prospective buyers are Behdad Eghbali and Jose Feliciano — billionaire co-founders of Clearlake Capital, a private equity firm based in Santa Monica — and Feliciano’s wife, Kwanza Jones, a singer/songwriter and philanthropist who grew up in the Washington, D.C., area.
Their offer has been tentatively accepted by the team’s three minority shareholders: FedEx chief executive Fred Smith, real estate magnate Dwight Schar, and investor Robert Rothman. But Snyder is blocking the sale, according to people familiar with the situation, by attempting to selectively exercise his right of first refusal to buy back minority shares of the team before they’re sold to other parties. While the three minority owners are seeking to sell their 40 percent share in unison, according to these people, Snyder has offered to buy only the 25 percent held by Smith and Rothman, not the 15 percent owned by Schar.
In an attempt to get a federal judge to force Snyder to permit the sale to move forward, the three minority owners sued him in US District Court in Maryland on Nov. 13, according to court records made public Friday and a person with knowledge of the lawsuit.
The Washington Football Team is worth $3.5 billion, according to the most recent estimate by Forbes, which would equate to a 40% stake worth $1.4 billion.
Broncos fans get one more game
The Denver Broncos have told season ticket holders that due to the increase of COVID-19 cases, Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins will be the last one played with fans in attendance at Empower Field at Mile High this season. The Broncos have been allowing 5,700 fans into their games. The Broncos’ final three home games, against the Saints, Bills, and Raiders, will be played without any fans in the stands. In a statement, the Broncos said, “Although we are confident in our strong safety protocols and have no evidence of any COVID-19 transmission traced to our home games, the increase in cases and hospitalizations locally requires us to adjust our future plans. Taking this precaution is consistent with the recent guidelines issued by local officials to limit gatherings with the holiday season approaching.” . . . Tennessee will be without starting left guard Rodger Saffold and linebacker Jadeveon Clowney on Sunday when the Titans visit Baltimore. Saffold hurt his ankle in a loss Nov. 12 to Indianapolis and managed to finish the game. But he didn’t practice all week. Center Ben Jones is questionable with an injured knee that kept him from practicing this week, and the Titans lost three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan to a torn ACL in October. Clowney, signed to a one-year deal on Sept. 7, is missing his second game in three weeks. He was scratched Nov. 8 in a win against the Bears but played in the loss to Indianapolis. Also out are wide receiver Adam Humphries, missing his third straight game in the concussion protocol. Coach Mike Vrabel said Humphries is running and taking part in meetings but has yet to be cleared from a concussion suffered Nov. 1 in a loss in Cincinnati . . . Packers wide receiver Davante Adams returned to practice and is expected to play Sunday at Indianapolis despite dealing with an ankle injury this week. The injury had prevented Adams from practicing Thursday . . . The San Francisco 49ers waived defensive end Takkarist McKinley after he failed a physical. The Niners claimed McKinley off waivers earlier this week after he failed a physical in Cincinnati but then cut him Friday after he failed their physical as well. McKinley was a first-round pick by the Falcons in 2016. He had 17½ sacks, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery in 49 career games. He had one sack in four games this season. The Niners also placed three more players on the COVID-19 list with receiver Brandon Aiyuk, left tackle Trent Williams, and tight end Daniel Helm being added. The 49ers have a bye this week and return to play on Nov. 29 against the Los Angeles Rams.
Jake Scott, member of perfect Dolphins team, dead at 75
Jake Scott, the star safety who was the most valuable player in the Super Bowl that completed the Miami Dolphins’ 1972 perfect season before his relationship with coach Don Shula soured, died Thursday in Atlanta. He was 75.
Mr. Scott died after a fall down a stairway that left him in a coma, former teammate Dick Anderson said.
Mr. Scott played in three consecutive Super Bowls, won back-to-back championship rings, and made the Pro Bowl five years in a row with Miami. He had two interceptions, including a 55-yard return from the end zone, against Billy Kilmer and the Washington Redskins as the ’72 Dolphins won, 14-7, to finish 17-0.
Following his retirement, Mr. Scott became reclusive and harbored hard feelings toward Shula and his coach at Georgia, Vince Dooley. Mr. Scott lived for years on a remote Hawaiian island and traveled the world but seldom attended Dolphins or Bulldogs reunions.
He was once close to Shula, but they went without speaking to each other for 28 years, and Mr. Scott was one of only two living players to skip the 1972 Dolphins’ 25-year celebration in 1997.
The rift finally ended at a memorabilia show in 2010, where Mr. Scott and Shula had a brief conversation, shared laughs, and posed with other former Dolphins for photos. Shula died in May of this year.