Kevin Stefanski: health and safety of team “a shared responsibility”

By , 92.3 The Fan
CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The safety protocols are in place.

The facility has been modified – weight room moved to the field house and a second locker room built.

The roster has been split in half with workouts for one group in the morning and afternoon for the other.  

The Browns have done their part organizationally to provide the safest environment possible to play football this year.

Now it’s up to the players to do theirs.

“It’s a shared responsibility,” Stefanski said Thursday afternoon during a Zoom conference with reporters. “It’s something that it’s not just one person’s responsibility to stay on top of, so we’re going to be counting on our veterans to show some good leadership here.”

Stefanski spoke from the quarterbacks meeting room that has been converted to a video conference room for coaches to use with players participating remotely.

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic will be the most challenging for the NFL considering the size of the rosters and support staff as well as the proximity with which football is played.

What happened to the Miami Marlins is a cautionary tale not only for the Browns, but the entire league.

As many as 17 Marlins players and two coaches tested positive forcing the cancellation of at least a week’s worth of games after a group reportedly left the team bubble, which exposed them to the virus. The Philadelphia Phillis season is also on hold after playing the Marlins last weekend. They were set to resume Saturday against the Blue Jays, but that series was cancelled after two staffers tested positive.

“I know there’s a work-life balance for our players,” Stefanski said. “We understand that, but this is such a unique time. We talked so much about being a good teammate. And one of the ways you can be a good teammate is when you leave this bubble, and go into your own bubble, make sure that you make really sound decisions, and ultimately you’re taking care of your teammates and your coaches.”

This year players will have to put their social lives on hold. The home parties or trips to clubs will have to wait until next year.

“We have to make good choices, good decisions,” Stefanski said. “I’ve talked with the players a lot about it already. You just have to do everything in your power to keep yourself and your teammates and their families safe.  

“It’s hard. That’s not easy for a lot of families, mine included, but you just have to do it. It’s the sacrifice we’re making to make sure we’re keeping everyone else safe.”

Unlike major League Soccer, the NHL and NBA, the NFL – as a league – is not bubbled together but Stefanski believes the season can be played, and safely, provided everyone does their part.

“I’m optimistic,” Stefanski said. “I believe in this bubble. You may say we’re not in a bubble but I feel like we’re in a bubble. “We’re wearing masks everywhere, staying away from everybody, [I’ve got] my Kinexon, which blinks when I’m within six feet of people, so it feels that way.

“We just have to make sure with that shared responsibility as you leave this bubble that you maintain and follow the protocols.”