Browns Release Key Defender Ahead of Steelers Matchup

Getty The Browns released Devaroe Lawrence.

The Cleveland Browns waived defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence on Wednesday, a player who had been an integral part of the rotation on the defensive line this season.

Lawrence appeared in all 11 games this season with two starts. He recorded eight tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. He played on 29 percent of Cleveland’s defensive snaps this season as the primary backup at defensive tackle.

No corresponding move is needed as defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi has returned from his one-game suspension stemming from the team’s fight against the Steelers.

The Browns depth on the defensive line has been tested of late, with the unit missing three starters last week in Ogunjobi, Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon. Sheldon Richardson was the lone starter, playing multiple positions on the line against the Dolphins.

The move with Lawrence likely has to with the Browns liking what they saw out of defensive tackle Brandin Bryant, who was elevated to the active roster from the practice squad last week with and defensive end Porter Gustin.

Bryant played 22 snaps on Sunday against the Dolphins, compared to 32 for Lawrence. Eli Ankou is the Browns other defensive tackle on the depth chart.

Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens was happy with how the patchwork line performed in the 41-24 win.

“I think they continued to fight all day. It was not easy. Generating pressure was not easy. When we did, Fitz (Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick) did a good job of scrambling out of there and making plays with his feet so that makes it difficult, but those guys continued to fight,” Kitchens said. “When it is like that, we just need to continue to make them snap the ball and just continue to snap the ball. No big plays and just snap the ball over and over and over again, and I thought those guys did a good job of that.”

Devaroe Lawrence Brought ‘Crazy’ Mentality to Browns

GettyDevaroe Lawrence had a big preseason with the Cleveland Browns.

Lawrence brought a degree of toughness to the roster and was voted by his teammates as the player on the team’s roster they’d most like to have on their side in a street fight.

“Have you not seen Devaroe?” Ogunjobi told the Cleveland Browns official site. “Devaroe will hold it down. If I’m with Devaroe and we’re in a back alley, I’m scared for the people in the back alley.”

Lawrence is 6-foot-2, 295 pounds and has a personality that thrives in the trenches.

“Devaroe, he crazy,” linebacker Christian Kirksey added. “He’s really crazy in the head and that’s somebody you want on your side.”

Lawrence was acquired by the Browns from the Saints for a seventh round pick last season. He played just two snaps last season, but has obviously made an impact on his teammates.

Devaroe Lawrence Battle Through Injury & More for NFL Dream

There’s a good chance Lawrence, 27, will land on his feet because of what he’s been able to put on tape. He also has shown the ability to persevere through tough times.

ESPN’s Mike Triplett did a feature on Lawrence during his time with the Saints, just before he was traded on cut day. He revealed Lawrence’s tough upbringing, his stints in jail and struggles staying healthy.

“The biggest test for any human is life,” Lawrence told ESPN. “You can cheat on any math test, you can cheat on any English test. But you can’t cheat what life throws at you. So it’s all on how you deal with it.

“Have I always handled the bad situations good? No. But it’s your life, and you gotta learn from your mistakes. I can say I’ve learned from a lot of my mistakes, and I do a lot of things different. I think different. I see things different.”

Lawrence’s story has been one of persistence. When he finally earned a scholarship to Auburn after walking on to Georgia Military Academy, but he then tore his ACL. He was picked up by the Saints as an undrafted free agent, but found out a second surgery was needed, keeping him on the sideline longer.

“I could’ve quit [after the second surgery]. I could’ve said, ‘Forget it.’ I could’ve just tapped,” Lawrence said. “I’m fittin’ to be a 25-year-old rookie. Put that in perspective. That’s a long road. But I ain’t quit trusting God. He got me here for a reason, and I really believe that.”

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