Kevin Stefanski is the new coach of the Browns, but he’s not based in Cleveland yet.
Stefanski revealed Thursday his family postponed its move from Edina, Minnesota, to Northeast Ohio because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been working from home in Minnesota for the past two weeks, helping his wife, Michelle, with their three young children and attempting to lead the Browns remotely.
“This is definitely testing my parenting skills,” Stefanski said during a conference call with media.
It’s also testing his leadership and organizational skills while he attempts to chart a new course for the franchise as a first-time head coach.
“You’ve just got to make it work,” Stefanski said. “I don’t look at it from any other perspective than that. I think all 32 teams are at the same disadvantage.
“It’s a very fluid situation as we all know. We are just awaiting word from the league on how they’re going to handle certain things, and then we’ll adapt and adjust accordingly.”
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The Browns had been scheduled to begin their voluntary offseason workout program Monday at team headquarters in Berea until the pandemic forced the NFL to audible.
Now no one knows when Stefanski will be able to get his players and coaching staff in the building. He doesn’t even know when he’ll be able to conduct virtual meetings with players.
“We have plans and then contingency plans and contingency plans for those contingency plans,” he said. “We’re trying to think about this thing and hit it from every angle, pending the rules and pending the structure that the NFL and the NFLPA agree upon.
“Is it virtual classrooms? We’re ready for that, but we just don’t know exactly how it’s going to go down.”
Virtual meetings are in full swing among the coaches and player personnel department led by general manager Andrew Berry, who’s also new to the job.
“What you can get done remotely is maybe not the same as having everybody in the same room, but the way we’ve attacked it is we’re full steam ahead,” Stefanski said. “Whatever the rules are, we’ll play by them, but it cannot slow down our preparation.”
That’s easier said than done.
The draft is still slated for April 23-25, albeit as a largely virtual version of the traditional event, but, like club facilities, in-person meetings with prospects and pro days have been shut down. There is limited data and medical information as a result.
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