The Browns had been holding out for the narrow chance that he’d clear waivers and be able to remain on the practice squad in Cleveland. However, after a strong preseason, Hodge had suitors, falling into the Lions’ lap.
Hodge played in 25 games over the last two seasons with the Browns. He notched 15 catches for 256 yards over that span. Hodge also plays a role on special teams, playing 82 snaps last season.
He signed a one-year tender with the Browns this offseason worth $2.13 million, which really made it a tough sell for the Browns to keep him around, even after his pair of preseason touchdown grabs.
“Roster decisions are always a combination between the front office and the coaching staff making sure it’s not just the most talented 53, but the right 53 to serve the different roles we need on offense, defense and the kicking game throughout the season,” Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry said in a release. “That communication is continuous throughout the month of August. There was a lot of good discussion and dialogue between the different groups. I think we were able to come to a really good consensus with the initial 53 guys we will have on the roster.”
The Lions also claimed another former Browns player in Austin Seibert, who started his career in Cleveland as a fifth-round pick.
It’s no coincidence that it was the Lions that claimed the two former Browns’ players. Former Browns general manager John Dorsey is now with the Lions as senior personnel executive and likely influenced the decision making.
Browns Fill Out Practice Squad With 11 Players
While the Browns did not get Hodge back, they did fill out the practice squad with 11 players that includes: WR Ja’Marcus Bradley, DT Sheldon Day, TE Jordan Franks, DE Porter Gustin, RB John Kelly, LB Elijah Lee, S Jovante Moffatt, QB Nick Mullens, WR JoJo Natson, FB Johnny Stanton and DE Curtis Weaver.
Mullens is the only player without previous ties to the Browns. Mullens is entering his fourth NFL season. He signed with San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent and played in 19 career games with 16 starts, tossing 387 completions for 4,714 yards and 25 touchdowns. His 4,405 passing yards in his first 16 starts mark the second most by any quarterback in NFL history in that span, trailing only Patrick Mahomes (5,100), per the Browns official release.
Mullens will be the No. 3 quarterback behind Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum. The Browns cut ties with Kyle Lauletta after his uneven preseason.
Browns Preparing for Week 1 Against Chiefs
With the preseason out of the way, the Browns are now full speed ahead preparing for the Chiefs, which will be a rematch of their postseason matchup a year ago. The Browns didn’t play many of their starters in the preseason, so Week 1 will be their first time suiting up since the end of last year.
“I do feel good. I have not played any preseason games. I guess that is a little bit why I do not feel as sore,” Nick Chubb told reporters on Wednesday. “I feel good. If I played in the games, I would still feel good and I would still be ready to go so that is not really that much of a factor for me.”
The Chiefs are listed as 5.5-point home favorite for the opening matchup.