In a change of pace, the Cleveland Browns received some good suspension news on Friday.
Safety Damarious Randall avoided being suspended for hit helmet-to-hemet hit on Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson in the third quarter of Thursday’s game, according to Scott Petrak of BrownsZone.com
Johnson — a third-round rookie — had played well this season, emerging for 30 catches, 363 yards and three touchdowns.
It was a rough night on the injury front for the Steelers, who also lost Juju Smith-Schuster (concussion) and running back James Conner (shoulder) to injury.
Johnson was seeing bleeding from his ear as he went to the medical tent following the hit and ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed that Johnson has a concussion and will be in the protocol before the team faces Cincinnati next week.
Johnson did provide a positive injury update via social media on Friday.
“Appreciate all the prayers man.. I’m doing good. I’ll be back”
Browns Running Thin at Safety
The Browns have to be thankful that Randall avoided any suspension time because there’s little to no depth at the safety position.
The team cut Jermaine Whitehead recently for his social media rant that threatened both fans and reporters after a loss to the Broncos.
With Cleveland’s defensive backfield being banged up in general this season, Whitehead had played over 50 snaps every game since Week 1, peaking with 83. He had started in place of Randall, who missed several games this season with a concussion and then hamstring injury.
On top of that, veteran safety Morgan Burnett has been diagnosed with a torn Achilles and is expected to be out for the year. Burnett, a 10-year pro, had compiled 41 tackles, two sacks, two passes defended and an interception this season.
Browns to be Without Myles Garrett ‘Indefinitely’
Obviously the big news of the day is that the Browns will be without Myles Garrett for the rest of the season following his helmet-swinging antics against Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph at the end of the team’s win on Thursday night.
In his absence, Chad Thomas and Chris Smith will have to step up and the team is hoping Pro Bowler Olivier Vernon will return from injury sooner than later. Vernon, who the Browns acquired from the Giants in the offseason, has missed the last two games.
The Browns still have an uphill battle to make the playoffs — especially without Garrett — but head coach Freddie Kitchens believes the team will respond to the adversity.
“I think we have the men in the room to accept the challenge,” Kitchens told reporters on Friday. “There has been adversity hit it seems like all year so these guys have answered the call of adversity, and I expect them to do the same moving forward. There will not be any excuses. We will have 11 out on the field, and those 11 will be expected to do their job.”
Next up for the Browns is a matchup with the Dolphins on Nov. 24. They’ll see the Steelers again on Dec. 1 in a rematch of Thursday night’s ruckus.