Dontrell Hillard exited the Cleveland Browns Week 1 matchup against the Tennessee Titans with a concussion and did not return.
Hilliard was holding down the No. 2 RB spot on the depth chart behind starter Nick Chubb and had supplied the only Browns touchdown for most of the afternoon.
He finished his day with one carry for four yards and the touchdown. He also returned three kicks for 80 yards and caught one pass.
Hilliard was picked up by the Browns as an undrafted free agent last offseason out of Tulane and spent the first month of the season on the practice squad. After being elevated to the active roster, he appeared in 11 game but did not receive a carry. However, he did catch nine balls for 105 yards and could be in the mix to return kicks.
Hillard had gained the favor of his coaches for his hard work in the offseason, capitalizing when veteran Duke Johnson Jr. — who would eventually be shipped out to Houston — missed OTAs and minicamp with a holdout. The Browns were also hammered by injuries at running back to start training camp, giving Hillard further time to shine.
“Dontrell is going to continue to work,” Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said at training camp. “I have been pleased with Dontrell. He is not a finished product. He needs to keep working. We will see what we have at the end of all of this.”
De’Ernest Johnson Next Up on Browns Depth Chart
A little more than a year ago, De’Ernest Johnson was on a fishing boat, just trying to get by as he waited for his next football opportunity. On Sunday he was in a Browns uniform.
The Browns signed undrafted rookie D’Ernest Johnson this offseason after his stint in the AAF. He finished his year with the Orlando franchise ranked third in the league in rushing with 372 yards on 64 carries and two scores. Johnson played at USF and is the program’s all-time leader in all-purpose yardage (4,186).
“I felt like (the AAF) was a great opportunity for players like myself who have been out of football for a long time and just want to be able to put on good film for NFL teams so you can get back to the NFL because that’s where you gotta go to get back to the NFL,” Johnson said. “Like I said, it’s a better opportunity to play the game that you love. I felt like the league was pretty great for players like me and other guys like Garrett.”
D’Ernest Johnson two carries for 14 yards to go with one catch for 11 yards.
Browns Get Scrappy Against Titans, Greg Robinson Ejected
There was plenty of yellow laundry on the field against the Titans, with the Browns collecting 100 yards of penalties in the first half.
There were five personal foul penalties, including one on Myles Garrett for throwing a slap at Titans TE Delanie Walker.
Shortly after the play with Garrett, Browns starting left tackle Greg Robinson was ejected for kicking an opponent. Kendall Lamm entered in relief and Cleveland surrendered a safety just a few plays later on a sack of Baker Mayfield.
The devastation continued on the O-line, with Lamm exiting with an injury. He was officially ruled out with a knee injury.