Team doctors carted Conklin off the field during the first half after a collision with Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson during a pass play. The Browns announced during the game that Conklin had suffered a knee injury, though the team did not elaborate further.
Media members asked head coach Kevin Stefanski about the Conklin’s status following the game.
“You hope, but that doesn’t look good,” Stefanski said. “And I feel absolutely awful for Jack — the person he is, the player that he is, and what he means to this team. You absolutely hate to see those things on guys that are such a big part of what we are. So he’s hurting, I’m hurting, his teammates are hurting for him. But we’ll hold out hope.”
“I don’t know exactly,” Stefanski responded. “Obviously, you got to get the imaging on those things, but … didn’t like it.”
Injury Continues to Plague Browns Right Tackle Jack Conklin
Conklin’s bad injury luck stretches back multiple years. The right tackle suffered a torn patella tendon in his right knee in November 2021, which sidelined him for the remainder of that season. He missed three games earlier that year with a dislocated elbow. All told, Conklin played in just seven contests in 2021.
The right tackle’s elbow and knee injuries came on the heels of his second first-team All-Pro selection in 2020. Conklin also earned those honors as a rookie with the Tennessee Titans in 2016. The right tackle sat out three games in 2022 due to injury issues.
Conklin signed a four-year extension worth $60 million (including $28.85 million fully-guaranteed) in December 2022. He is under contract with the team through 2026.
Rookie Dawand Jones Replaces Jack Conklin on Browns Offensive Line
Replacing Conklin in the lineup Sunday was rookie tackle Dawand Jones, who the Browns drafted in the fourth-round out of Ohio State. A massive prospect, Jones stands at 6’8″ and weighs 375 pounds.
“I thought he performed admirably — throwing him in there in a tough spot,” Stefanski said of Jones’ performance. “I could give you a better evaluation once I watch it, but seemed to block his guy.”
Presumably the starter for the rest of the season, Jones has inspired a considerable amount of faith among the Browns believers due to his sheer size and a solid preseason. He joins a decorated offensive line that includes Pro-Bowl guards Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller.
The unit was far from perfect in pass protection Sunday, affording the Bengals defense three sacks of quarterback Deshaun Watson. However, the run-blocking was stellar as Cleveland galloped to 206 yards on the ground, led by running back Nick Chubb with 106 yards.