Johnson was having a solid camp as the team’s third cornerback and had the inside route on landing the nickel role. The team said in a release that Johnson is resting comfortably and is expected to remain in the hospital for the next 24 hours to undergo further observation.
It’s the second notable injury on the Browns defense in recent days. Linebacker Mack Wilson suffered a potentially season-ending hyperextended left knee on Tuesday, but is still weighing his options.
There’s a chance Johnson doesn’t get on the field this season at all due to the injury. Healing of a simple liver laceration and subcapsular hematoma occurs in 2 to 4 months, whereas complex injuries require up to 6 months, per the Sports Health medical research journal.
Kevin Johnson Was First-Round Pick of Houston
Johnson was the No. 16 overall pick in the 2015 draft, spending the first four seasons of his career with the Texans before signing with the Buffalo Bills last season. Johnson played on 32.4 percent of the Bills defense snaps last season and also contributed on special teams.
His best year came as a rookie, when he started 10 games in Houston. Johnson recorded 54 tackles and recorded the only interception of his career. Johnson played in just one game in 2018, missing time with a severe concussion. He needed a fresh start to his career and was confident he could do it in Cleveland, where he felt a shift with Kevin Stefanski coming in as the head coach and Andrew Berry as the GM.
“It was just a feeling I had. I liked the new culture that was coming in with the new management and new coaching staff,” Johnson told reporters this week. “The team has a ton of talent. It was a team that I just wanted to be a part of. It was a feeling I had.
“I think it is always important to come in and put your best foot forward,” he added. “That’s really what I am trying to do. What I am focusing on is coming out there, putting my best foot forward and doing the best I can each and every day and trying to improve.”
Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward will be the starting corners, but Johnson is willing to step up in any way possible to help the team win.
“Just play wherever they want me to play – playing inside, playing outside, whatever that may be. Like I said, coming in here, putting my best foot forward, doing whatever they ask me to do and trying to do it to the best of my ability.”
Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams Are Dangerous Pair
After being selected No. 4 overall in the 2018 draft, Ward made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, establishing himself as a top corner in the league. The Ohio State product collected three interceptions, 11 passes defensed, a forced fumble and 36 tackles.
However, he was hampered by injury during his sophomore season in the NFL, starting 12 games. Ward had a pair of interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown.
“I feel that I had a decent season, not the season that I have in my mind when I set my goals and everything that I want to accomplish throughout the year, but I feel that I definitely produced throughout the season and did my job when I was out there on the field, made plays and helped my team,” Ward said this week. “I feel that I still have a lot more that I could do, prove and still give to this team to help this team win.”
Williams was projected to be a first-round pick last year, but dropped to the second round, where the Browns picked him up. The former LSU standout won the starting role, but also dealt with his share of injuries. He did, however, put to bed any concerns of his tackling, collecting 47 tackles.