As far as the Cleveland Browns are concerned, the start of 2022 campaign can be summed up by one new and unfortunate maxim — free agency giveth, and the preseason taketh away.
The Browns picked up Pro Bowl return specialist Jakeem Grant on a three-year, $10 million deal to spice up special teams and provide a shot of electric depth into the wide receiver room. Then, on Tuesday, August 9, those plans for Grant were deflated by what appeared to be a serious injury.
Camryn Justice of WEWS in Cleveland captured video of Grant heavily favoring his left leg and unable to exit the field of his own power, forcing the Browns’ medical team to escort him from practice on the back of a player cart.
“#Browns Jakeem Grant carted off the field,” Justice captioned the video.
Mary Kay Cabot tweeted later in the day that the belief is Grant has suffered a torn achilles tendon, which likely means he’s out for the entire season.
The latest Browns news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Browns newsletter here!
Browns, Grant Have Big Plans For Regular Season Role
While it is still too early to say how bad Grant’s injury actually is, video evidence showed clearly Tuesday that the hybrid playmaker essentially couldn’t put any weight on his left leg. That is generally a terrible sign and usually indicates an injury of some severity.
If it ends up that Grant misses several games, or the entire season, that development will throw a major hitch into both the team’s plans for Grant and the vision he has for the evolution of his career.
Speaking with Justice on Sunday, Grant made clear that his mission is to go on the offensive, literally.
“I always preach that I’m a receiver first before a returner, and I’m going to continue to preach that message,” Grant said. “And I’m going to continue to work on that until I get that opportunity to have that breakout season.”
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was on board with Grant’s quest and said at the beginning of training camp that the offense would love to incorporate him where and when appropriate.
“He’s an electric player. He’s fast,” Stefanski said on July 29. “Certainly somebody who we would love to use as we get into the regular season.”
Cleveland listed Grant as a third-string wide receiver on its first unofficial depth chart of the preseason, which was released on Monday.
Browns’ Offense Plagued by WR Injuries, Watson Uncertainty
Of Cleveland’s top six wide receivers, five of them have now been hurt to one degree or another.
Grant joins Amari Cooper, David Bell, Anthony Schwartz and Michael Woods as Browns’ pass catchers to go down since July 22. The first three have returned to practice after ankle, foot and knee problems, respectively. Woods will remain out for the time being after re-aggravating a hamstring injury he initially sustained during the spring. Grant’s fate is yet to be determined.
Deshaun Watson will be suspended at least six games for violations of the league’s player conduct policy, a punishment that could be lengthened following the conclusion of an NFL appeal to the decision, which is currently underway.