The incident flipped Njoku’s injury status to questionable on Saturday, September 30, one day ahead of Cleveland’s first matchup with the AFC North Division rival Baltimore Ravens. However, Njoku’s message to fans appeared to indicate his wounds won’t keep him from taking the field in an important home game for the 2-1 Browns.
“The flesh is weak,” Njoku posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “See u tomorrow #Dawgpound.”
Cleveland activated Zaire Mitchell-Paden from its practice squad in the case that Njoku is unable to play, though it appears now that Mitchell-Paden’s presence won’t be necessary. Jordan Akins and Harrison Bryant are the Browns’ second- and third-string tight ends, respectively.
David Njoku Has Yet to Live Up to Massive Contract Extension
Njoku sustained the burns on Friday evening while attempting to light a fire pit at his home, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN.
Losing the tight end against the Ravens wouldn’t be catastrophic, though it would be another blow to a Browns offense that has been hit hard by injury through just three games this season.
Njoku has made just 10 catches for 92 yards, scoring zero touchdowns and picking up two first-downs for on offense that hasn’t moved the ball through the air particularly well. The tight end put up career-highs in catches (58) and yards (628) last year to go along with 4 touchdowns, which tied a career-high, per Pro Football Reference.
Even despite the best numbers of his career, Njoku has fallen short of living up to his contract extension. He signed a four-year deal worth approximately $55 million in May 2022.
Logic dictated Njoku had a reasonable chance to improve upon his production last season with the additions of wide receivers Elijah Moore and rookie Cedric Tillman to a pass attack that is intended to, in part, create mismatches for the athletic tight end.
Furthermore, quarterback Deshaun Watson struggled mightily through the team’s first two contests before throwing for 289 yards and 2 touchdowns in by far his best outing of the year against the Tennessee Titans last weekend.
Browns QB Deshaun Watson Dealing with Shoulder Injury
The bad news out of Watson’s performance last Sunday is a shoulder contusion he suffered during the game. The injury has the starting QB listed as questionable entering the weekend, though Watson said he plans to play, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
As a precautionary measure, the Browns opted on Saturday to elevate third-string quarterback P.J. Walker to the active roster. If Watson is unable to go, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson figures to get the start as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart.
The Browns are 2.5-point favorites to defeat the Ravens as of Saturday, per Draft Kings Sportsbook, despite the uncertainty surrounding the injuries to both Watson and Njoku.