Let’s be honest, the Cleveland Browns are the NFL’s practice squad. However, they still have a game against the Green Bay Packers this Sunday and the odds of winning are looking even worse than usual for the Browns.
The Browns had 12 players out with the flu on Wednesday – two of which returned to practice on Thursday. In light of the situation, both the AP and Pro Football Talk have reported that the Browns will be eligible to use players from their practice squad if six players on the team can’t play because of swine flu.
Browns coach, Eric Mangini said two of his players have been diagnosed with Influenza A, which is related to the H1N1 virus or swine flu.
It’s unclear whether the rest of the sickly Browns have the regular or H1N1 variety of the flu. Just in case it’s the latter, the NFL has a swine flu policy.
This memo is from commissioner Rodger Goodell’s office.
“If a club has at least six players unable to participate as the result of confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu, it can receive roster exemptions for those players and promote players from its own practice squad to replace them. A club can receive a max of 8 such exemptions. They must be medically confirmed cases of swine flu. This procedure does not apply to any other type of flu or illness. There is a deadline for promoting practice squad players pursuant to these procedures at four hours prior to kickoff.”
Although Mangini said he expects the sick players to be read to play Sunday, the Browns are keeping an open dialogue with the league about the situation.
“We’re going through the process of talking to the league and documenting different things to see where we are with that,” Mangini said. “It’s open communication. We want to be sure what we’re able to do and not able to do.”
The best thing that could happen for the Packers is for the Browns to get healthy. The last thing the team needs is to have a bunch of sick players heading into their showdown with the Minnesota Vikings in Lambeau Field on Nov. 1.
The NFL should really think about quarantining the entire Browns organization and making them forfeit this week’s game, not only for the sake of the Packers, but for making those poor people in Cleveland watch such a terrible brand of football. I mean, it’s not like they’re going to compete with the Packers, so why not just save us all the trouble?