Browns place Pro Bowl corner Ward on COVID-19 reserve list

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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) scores a touchdown in front of Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward (21) after catching a pass in the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward has been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list and will miss Sunday’s season finale against Cincinnati.

Ward was already questionable with a groin injury suffered in Monday’s loss at Pittsburgh. The fourth-year corner had three interceptions, including a 99-yard return for a touchdown that set the tone in Cleveland’s 41-16 win over the Bengals on Nov. 17.

The Browns will finish a disappointing season without Ward and linebacker Malcolm Smith, also placed on the COVID-19 list.

Greedy Williams would be Ward’s likely replacement in the starting lineup, but he’s dealing with a shoulder injury and was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.

The Browns did activate running back D’Ernest Johnson off the COVID-19 list, and the timing is good since Nick Chubb (ribs/chest) and Kareem Hunt (ankle) are dealing with injuries and may sit out.

Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Butler will not coach Sunday at Baltimore because of COVID-19 protocols. The team said Butler’s duties will be handled by head coach Mike Tomlin and secondary coach Teryl Austin.

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