Browns captain and All Pro defensive end Myles Garrett was unexpectedly listed on the team’s injury report Tuesday, September 20, with a previously undisclosed neck issue. Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus posted an update on the situation via Twitter.
“#Browns DE Myles Garrett showed up on the injury report today with a neck injury and is not practicing,” Meirov tweeted. “Cleveland plays on Thursday night against Pittsburgh. Jadeveon Clowney has already been ruled out.”
Garrett Expected to go Against Steelers, Fellow Browns’ DE Sent to IR
While still disconcerting considering his monumental value to the Browns, the news surrounding Garrett became considerably less bleak on Wednesday.
“DE Myles Garrett (neck) and OG Joel Bitonio (biceps) are … both expected to play after they were listed on the injury report Tuesday,” Cleveland announced via its official website. “DE Jadeveon Clowney was ruled out for Week 3 on Monday due to an ankle injury and remains the only player expected to miss the game due to injury.”
That distinction, of course, does not include defensive end Chase Winovich, who was designated to the injured reserve (IR) list earlier this week due to a hamstring injury, per Pro Football Talk. Joining him on the IR is tight end Jesse James, who is suffering from a biceps injury.
Based on NFL rules, both players will miss the team’s next four contests, including Thursday night against the Steelers.
Browns Will Turn to 2 Rookie Defensive Ends Against Steelers
In Clowney’s absence, and with Winovich sidelined for the next four games, Cleveland’s cupboard at defensive end is relatively bare — save for two rookies who are likely to see serious action Thursday night.
The first is third-round draft pick Alex Wright, currently listed as Clowney’s backup on the Browns’ depth chart. Wright, who has played 38 percent of the team’s defensive snaps through two games, gave voice on Monday to his chance to start in just the third game of his NFL career.
“It sucks. [Especially] something that’s so fluky, something that wasn’t supposed to happen,” Wright told the Akron Beacon Journal of Clowney’s injury. “But at the end of the day, somebody’s got to step up. We can’t sit back and hang our heads because he’s down. We’ve just got to look at it as he’s going to be all right, he’s going to be back. While he’s gone, though, somebody’s got to step up, somebody’s got to take his place and make plays.”
The other solution for Cleveland is seventh-round rookie Isaiah Thomas, who has played in 13 percent of the Browns’ defensive snaps so far this season.
“It sucks to have a vet down but, obviously, next man up,” Thomas told the Akron Beacon Journal on Monday. “They brought me, Alex Wright, other D-ends here to come in and perform and play, not to sit down and just watch from the side.”