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#pounditSaturday, April 10, 2021

Browns’ Joel Bitonio may be the saddest story of the NFL postseason

Cleveland Browns helmet

Joel Bitonio has been through it all with the Cleveland Browns. As the longest-tenured member of the team, the star offensive lineman has endured several horrendous seasons to finally help the Browns reach the postseason. Unfortunately, Bitonio won’t be able to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

The Browns announced on Tuesday that head coach Kevin Stefanski, two assistant coaches and two players have tested positive for COVID-19. It has since been reported that Bitonio is one of those players.

Bitonio is in his seventh year with the Browns. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the past three seasons. After Cleveland beat the Steelers to clinch a spot in the playoffs, Stefanski awarded Bitonio a game ball.

Stefanski is Bitonio’s fifth head coach in Cleveland. The former second-round pick lived through the Hue Jackson era, during which the Browns won just one game in two seasons from 2016 to 2017. He certainly deserves a shot to play in a postseason game.

Depending on his situation, Bitonio could conceivably be cleared by the second round of the playoffs. That should give the Browns even more motivation to win on Sunday.

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